Sanitaryware manufacturer Grohe Dawn Watertech Holdings (GDWT) – which recently became a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese housing equipment company LIXIL Corporation – has embarked on a national tour to familiarise South African contractors, developers and aspiring do-it-yourself enthusiasts with its vast product offering.
GDWT comprises leading brass- and sanitaryware brands, which include Cobra, Isca, Vaal, Libra Baths and Plexicor. It is also the only Southern African distributor for GROHE – German manufacturer and LIXIL subsidiary.
The Pro Tour Truck is a “showroom on wheels” meant to transport the latest GDWT products, with sales and technical staff offering expert advice and ideas for bathroom and kitchen renovations. The truck allows consumers to receive information on industry technologies, while physically interacting with a range of fully functional products.
The tour started in mid-November and the Pro Tour Truck stopped at Gauteng-based shopping centres, as well as hardware and home-improvement stores. The truck has made its way to Bloemfontein, in the Free State, and will be travelling to Cape Town in the new year.
A concept that originated in Europe, the Pro Tour Truck is in its simplest form a showroom on wheels. Locally, this model was adopted and a first-of-its-kind was built in Africa.
Cobra Watertech national training manager Patrick Gordon says the model works from a training and educational point of view.
“Nothing beats hands-on experience and the Pro Tour Truck brings the product experience directly to you,” says GDWT CEO Henk Suelmann. “As the leading tap manufacturer in Africa, we are pleased to set the pace for future interactions – from installers and retailers to end consumers.”
Gordon adds that, once the national tour concludes, the truck will be used for trade shows and exhibitions. It can serve as a showroom and training centre, while creating an exclusive venue for key engagements with industry experts and partners.
GDWT chief marketing officer John Westermeyer says the importance of directly engaging with the target audience becomes more apparent as the market continues to evolve. “What better way than through a visually stunning mobile showroom, which is fully kitted out with our top-of-the-range taps, showers, baths and flushing toilets across our various brands?”
Pro Truck visitors can expect to see the GROHE, Cobra, Isca, Vaal and Libra Baths on display.
The GDWT acquisition is in line with LIXIL’s expanding the global footprint of its water technology business. Following the finalisation of the acquisition, LIXIL CEO and president Kinya Seto has noted that full ownership of GDWT will strategically position the group for growth in South Africa and the emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa.
The GDWT corporate entity will soon be rebranded as LIXIL Africa, in line with the business’s vision to be the region’s leading water technology company by 2021.
Gordon comments that the acquisition has strengthened GDWT’s manufacturing capacity, as it now has access to manufacturing and other technologies previously unavailable to the venture. Further, he notes that the new technologies to be rolled out across local facilities will result in more cost-effective operations, benefiting the group and consumers.
He stresses that, despite the global structure of the LIXIL group, the manufacture of GDWT’s local brands will remain under the jurisdiction of the Krugersdorp, Meyerton and Springs manufacturing facilities.
Gordon notes that GDWT is the only local manufacturer of sanitary brassware in South Africa.
While the Krugersdorp plant uses casting to manufacture its components, the Springs plant uses forging. The Meyerton plant, which manufactures products for Vaal Sanitary Ware, primarily deals with ceramic products, including baths and toilets.
The Krugersdorp plant – the biggest of the three plants – uses between 6 t/d and 8 t/d of brass, and currently employs up to 500 people.