Bishoftu Automotive has invested 35 million Br for the new cabin manufacturing plant
Bishoftu Automotive Engineering Industries, one of the subsidiaries under the state-owned Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), has set up a cabin manufacturing plant worth 35 million Br.
The new facility has already started pilot production of a cabin, an enclosed space in a truck, for the vehicles which the company is manufacturing. The company has two sections of manufacturing plants which are designated to make cabins for pickups and trucks.
The first section has a production capacity of making 11,000 cabins for pickups annually, enrolling 190 workers. The second part manufactures 13,000 truck cabins annually with its 350 employees.
The two companies are expected to be fully operational in a month's time, according to Metafer Beshahwured (Maj.), Bishoftu Automotive's deputy general manager for marketing and sales.
The new cabin plant resides inside the premises of MetEC headquarters in Bishoftu (Debrezeit), 40kms from Addis Abeba. Bishoftu Automotive Industries is one of the companies operating under MetEC, specialising in designing and manufacturing automotive products and different types of machinery.
Bishoftu Automotive started making the vehicles in June 2011, by importing the parts from China and Europe. But this time most of the inputs including the cabins are manufactured locally, according to Yikunoamalk Tesfay (Cap.), promotion and communications director at MetEC.
This time, the company adds 30pc to 55pc value on the vehicles depending on the type of car, according to Metafer. The lowest addition is made to the trucks, and the highest is done on pickups. It manufactures public buses, construction vehicles, solid and liquid waste disposal vehicles and cash-in-transit trucks.
Since its establishment, Bishoftu Automotive has produced a total of 7,055 cars of which 1,957 are public buses. Out of the total public buses, 553 of them were supplied to Anbessa City Bus Service Enterprise, 410 for Public Service Employees Transport Service Enterprise, and 300 for Sheger Express Bus System.
The other 490 buses were distributed to regions while the remaining were supplied to private companies and government institutions for different services including cross country transportation.
Currently, Bishoftu Automotive works with 218 small and medium enterprises which are providing it input. It has a total of 3,600 employees. Its annual turnover has reached 2.2 billion Br, with a production capacity of manufacturing 16 pickups, 10 trucks and four buses on a daily basis.
The umbrella company, MetEC, was incorporated in 2010, and presently has 15 companies operating under it, mainly engaging in the engineering sector. These companies consolidate 98 state-owned enterprises employing a total of 19,500 workers including the military base.
Besides the cabin, the company is currently sourcing various parts of vehicles locally including brakes, tires, seats, bodies and leaf springs.
The company has 29 maintenance centres scattered across the country, operating as exclusive maintenance centres.
Beyond this, the company is highly criticised for delivering poor quality products, but the management of the company defends that saying they are improving their deficiencies gradually and now they are supplying better products.
In addition to Bishoftu Automotive, according to data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), up until last year, a total of 31 foreign and 73 domestic vehicle assembly investment projects are licensed in the country, but only 18 of them are operational. And currently, the country has produced a little over 8,000 commercial and private vehicles for the local market.
When the two sections of the company become fully operational, they will work for 16 hours in a day, according to Metafer.