Cape Town-based bus builder MCV SA, part of an international conglomerate that is a global leader in transport solutions, has plans to become the largest bus manufacturer in South and Sub-Saharan Africa
Job creation is among the priorities that have helped to drive Cape Town bus builder MCV SA’s local operations. The company, which in 2007 acquired the famous De Haan’s Bus Factory in Parow, now employs about 250 people who produce an average of 30 buses a month on a one-shift basis.
“There is no reason why MCV can’t become the largest manufacturer of buses in South Africa,” says Awny Sadek, the company’s general manager. “We have the expertise, the manufacturing processes and the technology. Since we took over De Haan’s, we have taken great care to develop our workforce. Our focus has been on creating more employment opportunities and developing skills, and in that we have succeeded.
“But we want to achieve even more. The buses we build are world class and meet stringent global standards. Although we are part of an international conglomerate, the vehicles we manufacture are designed and built for Africa. With 89 percent of components locally sourced, we are a proudly South African company looking to become an industry leader in the sub-Saharan region – and there is no reason why we can’t succeed in that aim, too.”
With its head office and main plant in Egypt, MCV represents a large corporate entity, employing more than 6 000 workers globally and producing vehicles at facilities in the United Kingdom, the Far East, South Africa, Cuba, Algeria, Nigeria, and, soon, Australia.
“MCV SA is continuously evolving and improving, making use of the best international industry knowledge developed by us and our sister companies. Our quality control is top class. Not only do we comply with criteria laid down by the premium vehicle manufacturers whose engines and chassis we use – Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, MAN and Scania (as well as truck conversions) among them – but we also meet international benchmarks.
“Locally, our knowledge of requirements and attention to customisation detail, in combination with the international design expertise that MCV offers, helps to give us a significant competitive edge,” Sadek maintains.
Interestingly, among recent visitors to MCV SA’s Parow plant was a delegation from Zimbabwe – led by that country’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu – which was made up of members of the motor industry as well as representatives of other sectors of the economy.
Following a presentation by Sadek on MCV SA’s bus building history, capabilities and technologies, the delegation embarked on a tour of the factory before undertaking a test ride in one of the buses just off the assembly line – a luxury tourer built on a Volvo chassis.
The drive through Parow saw members of the delegation inspecting aspects of the vehicle’s fit and finish, with Sadek pointing out special features and unique ideas. Immediate feedback from the delegates was that the locally built, proudly South African bus offers value for the money; is durable and smart looking; and feels stable and very comfortable on the road.
The bus was used as an example to represent MCV’s seven-vehicle range, a selection that spans anything from 22-seat city commuters to 75-seat luxury cruisers. Sadek says that whether small or large, each of the buses manufactured in Parow can be tailored to meet individual customer requirements thanks to flexible design. “We offer efficient solutions to fit the tastes of specific operators,” he says. “Our assembly processes can be adapted quickly to accommodate individual preferences, as long as they meet local regulations.”
Among the products on the assembly line at the time of the delegation’s visit was a 65-seat S121 commuter bus, and a 70-seat luxury bus, which feature anti-corrosive treated, closed profile, welded tubular sections – all of the work carried out on site.
Comments from members of the delegation regarding the vehicle included “excellent workmanship” and “looks strong and durable.” In response, Sadek told them: “MCV SA is proudly South African and with products like these, we have every reason to believe that we will achieve our goal of becoming South Africa’s largest bus producer.”