opinionBy Robert Garai Muganda
Quest Motor Manufacturing has engaged Government to become a supplier of state-of-the-art locally manufactured vehicles in response to a Presidential Directive that the motor industry should consider local manufacturers before engaging foreigners.
The motor manufacturing plant, established in 1960, has a long history of producing quality vehicles for the local, regional and international markets for renowned brands such as:
Peugeot 404, 506, 306, 406 etc, Nissan Sunny, Pulsar, Mitsubishi Lancer, Gallant 2.0 and 2.5, light commercial trucks, L200 single and double cabs, Nissan Hardbody single and double cabs, Nissan PG720, Mitsubishi canters, heavy trucks, Volvo trucks FL10 and FL12, Nissan trucks UD, CPB12, UG780, CWA45, CWA71, Leyland trucks, Landmaster, Super E land, Clysidale, Super Commet, S26, Scammel, DAF Trucks FA 45, FTT, 3300, Buses -- Volvo FL10, Leyland and Nissan.
Zimbabweans are familiar with most of these brands that have provided reliable transportation for years.
Quest Motors has, however, introduced into the Zimbabwean market two newer brands -- the all new Cherry Tiggo SUV and the JMC which is a light commercial truck.
During a familiarisation tour of the Quest plant on this week Quest Motor Corporation chief executive officer Dr Ali Adam explained that the company's strategy was to grow their local base before expanding sales into the region. He also explained that this is why they decided to re-engage Government considering that they were historically a huge client.
The tour was organised as part of Buy Zimbabwe's efforts to create an engagement platform between Quest Motors and the State Procurement Board and attracted representation from the Ministry of Transport, Zimra, the President's Office Economics Division and the Zimbabwe Republic Police among others.
Director of transport management in the Ministry of Transport, Mr Allowance Sango, who was part of the tour, expressed his ministry's support for Quest and that they were impressed by the level of competency at the plant. He also added that they were happy with the quality of the vehicles and would be passing the necessary recommendations to the State Procurement Board.
The Cherry Tiggo and the JMC which are assembled right here in Zimbabwe as completely knocked down (CKD) and semi-knocked down (SKD) units respectively are part of Quest Motor Corporation's expansion plan in the passenger vehicle, light commercial trucks and buses market.
Quest Motors sales director Mr Tarik Adam revealed that the car assembly plant would soon be introducing the Foton tractor and a new bus range in partnership with Zhongtong of China, who are their technical partners.
Quest Motors boasts a state-of-the-art plant in Mutare which has benefited tremendously from the technical expertise of Zhongtong who have brought in high-tech equipment that meets international standards. The production department at Quest consists of 12 highly specialised sub-divisions that include: CKD (completely knocked down), jigs, metal finish, paint shop, trim line, commercial vehicle trim, passenger mechanical, light commercial vehicle, Land Rover, auto-electrical, Leyland line, heavy commercial line and final finish.
With all these production units fully functional, the plant has the capacity to assemble 35 units per day of mixed models on a single nine-hour shift but is currently sitting on six vehicles per day due to a suppressed market.
Quest is widely regarded in the Southern Africa region as the only indigenous motor assembly company which is wholly owned by locals.
During its 52 years of existence, the car assembly has responded positively to the dynamics of the industry at large in human resources management. The company sits on maximum manpower levels of approximately 1 200 employees. However, and unfortunately, the current manpower is at 300 employees. Due to the highly specialised nature of the business, Quest has retained professional and academically qualified personnel in all its departments but particularly in the production department.
The company's potential to expand in terms of production capacity and employment opportunities is high.
Robert Garai Muganda is the Media and Communications Executive at Buy Zimbabwe.