Launching its first series of light commercial vehicles (LCV) after four years of local testing and development, GoNow Auto SA has appointed 44 dealers with showroom and ser-vice facilities spread across Southern Africa, including Mauritius.
The company enters the market with three petrol-engined bakkie models, to be followed in October by three diesel-engined derivatives.
Prices range from R94 990 for the one-ton single-cab, to R134 990 for the top-of-the-range extended double-cab.
In December, GoNow Auto SA will launch its 4 10005 4 units, a mini- bus taxi and a big-cab half-ton bakkie, followed in January 2008 with the launch of a small passenger car for the South African market.
GoNow Auto is a new 100% empowered subsidiary of holding company Boston Super Group, based on the East Rand.
Boston Group was established in 1981 as a private company, and has a combined annual turnover of R300-million, with sales of more than 1 500 units a year.
Headed up by Chris Asmal, the Boston Group has been importing an array of products from countries abroad – including China – for a number of years.
GoNow Auto SA is managed by Adri Roe, who was responsible for bringing Daewoo to South Africa. She was also marketing and sales GM for Chevrolet South Africa.
“With GoNow, we looked at manu-facturers in China with the potential of growing internationally, not just in the Chinese market,” says Roe.
She says the company eventually focused on a handful of manufacturers with “better quality vehicles more suitable for our market”.
LCV manufacturer GoNow Auto was selected originally by Asmal in 2003. However, at that time, the company’s vehicles were only available in left-hand-drive versions.
Asmal had to convince the Chinese there was a market for their products in other parts of the world, including right-hand-drive countries, says Roe.
Following some development work, six vehicles were shipped to South Africa in November 2005 for testing under local conditions, as well as homologation by the South African Bureau of Standards.
The official distribution agreement with GoNow Auto was signed on December 14, 2005, for South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mauritius.
“After receiving the first right-hand-drive models, we have made dozens of improvements to the vehicles, including more than 40 changes to the finish and trim,” says Roe.
Homologation was completed in April this year.