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New JV with Foton broadens Powerstar footprint

Bob Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Ever Star Industries (Pty) Ltd, is highly excited about the company’s new venture starting this month. Ever Star Industries is broadening the Powerstar-branded range to include light and medium commercial vehicles from the Foton stable, including 3t, 5t and, 7 to 8t vehicles.

This follows a joint venture between the two holding companies whereby Ever Star Industries takes on board the Foton medium truck range and rebrands these under Ever Star Industries’ top brand, Powerstar. Bob Wang explains that since 2014 Ever Star Industries’ focus has been to become a one-stop-solution for the transport owner’s active in mining and construction, where Powerstar has been most successful. This means offering solutions across the construction equipment/vehicle spectrum. Customers need only turn to Ever Star Industries for their transport solutions from yellow equipment (Shantui bulldozers, front-end loaders, forklifts etc), to heavy and extra-heavy commercial trucks (Powerstar and Powerland truck tractors, tippers, mixers etc) to the colossal off-road heavy-duty rigid dump truck (NHL).

With this range on offer, either through agent agreement or joint venture, Ever Star Industries is able to provide more customers end-to-end solutions. Wang is very enthusiastic about all the brands in Ever Star Industries’ portfolio, as he explains the group’s reasoning behind the latest joint venture.
Since 2014 we have been introducing more models to the Southern African market. Our leading brand remains Powerstar with the V3 and VX ranges. However, we found that the range was too narrow and this was one of the reasons we introduced in 2014 the two Powerland models – a tipper and a truck tractor - to fill the gaps. Now we are expanding the offering by bringing in the medium truck range from Foton. Our Powerstar trucks are assembled by Ever Star Industries at our plant in Pietermaritzburg and all carry the Powerstar insignia. The medium ranges from Foton will follow suit with the Powerstar badging. We are equipped strategically to handle the broad range of vehicles, both in the sales arena and the critical aftermarket service, repair and maintenance area,” says Wang.

“Our vehicles have been a particular favourite in the mining and construction sectors because of proven durability, toughness and efficiency. Powerstar is, after all the quality Chinese truck brand that has helped changed old perceptions about anything made in China. Today we have many loyal customers who have been with the Powerstar brand only, for over 10 years. Because we manufacture locally and are able to source locally, over 20% of parts and components, we can offer a faster build/delivery time from order book to dealer vehicle despatch. Our aftersales activities offer the same benefit to our customers, with parts that are readily available, mostly immediate or overnight supply. We apply that very same superior standard for aftersales support, no matter which brand,” says Wang.

Wang picks up on the local economy and the company’s forward strategy: “The local economy is not getting worse despite the technical recession we’ve had. I believe that the next two to three years will start seeing a slow recovery. For us at Ever Star Industries we have the advantage of a good reputation with excellent brands and exceptional service. Since 2016 we have seen small but steady improvement in the market.” He also believes commodity price increase will see the mining industry in Africa flourish and provide further vehicle sales and service opportunities. A recovering Chinese economy will provide further impetus for resource demands.

While the timing of this JV may appear out of sync with current public pessimist outlook, Wang remains cautiously optimistic about South Africa’s Transport Industry: “We will see much of the same results this year in vehicle sales as last year, maybe slightly better. Our market differentiator is a good offering from a wide range of vehicles to suit any need, good quality products with low lifecycle cost, and superior service in maintenance and repair.

Also important is the speed with which we respond to customer needs, emphasises Wang. The Ever Star Industries footprint has been primarily the Southern Africa region – Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The company now plans to explore even more African countries with its wider offering, like Malawi, the DRC and Zambia. Speaking about future plans, Wang smiles: “We’ll continue to introduce more of our own brands from China, like adding products to our Powerstar brand. This will increase our own brand representation beyond the current 50% of our portfolio. We will expand our plant from the current 1 000 units capacity to accommodate new higher-specification vehicles in future. While we will maintain focus on our volume sellers, tippers and water tankers, we will be in a new position to magnify our market penetration in mining, construction as well as a number of other sectors.”
From Foton to Powerstar FT range
Rodney Selesnick, Senior Head of Sales responsible for truck sales at Ever Star Industries, sheds more light on the newest venture with Foton trucks. “We’re aiming for 600 to 650 units for the year which excludes sales of our latest Powerstar FT range of medium-weight trucks, originally from Foton. A challenge which remains is financing, with banks which seem to be throttling back a bit. Despite this the slight growth in newcomers in small and medium-sized fleets is comforting. Launching at the Futuroad Exhibition, the Powerstar FT range is in the same high-quality technology bracket as our other Powerstars. The range is powered primarily by Cummins engines feeding torque through ZF transmissions. This provides us with a new range of suitable genetics and pedigree joining our stable,” says Selesnick.

“The Powerstar FT build quality at the Pietermaritzburg plant as well as the aftermarket parts and service, will be at the same exacting quality standards as is for the current Powerstar range. In support of the new Powerstar FT range we are realigning and strengthening our dealer footprint with some significant names entering our family. These new dealers are financially strong and culturally in-sync with Ever Star Industries’ ethos. Training continues unabated to ensure that all products are supported more than adequately throughout the dealer network for sales and servicing requirements,” says Selesnick.

Powering ahead
Further news on the product side, is that the homologation of the new Cummins Powerstar V3 line haul truck has been completed. Alongside this is the introduction of an optional AMT transmission on the V3 and also the option of a Cummins or Weichai engine. The Cummins engine provides 430hp and is partnered well with the rest of the driveline.

On the horizon is a V3 driven through a 460hp Weichai engine, also combined with the optional AMT transmission. Also a lightweight 6X4 rigid truck tractor will arrive later this year, to start homologation.

Bob Wang and Rodney Selesnick agree when they say: “Watch this space. Ever Star Industries may be one of the younger ‘kids on the block’ but we are enhancing our product and service offering so that no-one will ignore our competitive, positive spirit.”

Article courtesy of Truck & Heavy Equipment News

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