As manufacturing remains one of a strategic contributors national economy, the automobile industry presents huge potential in accelerating Rwanda’s industrialization process, promoting the innovative development of manufacturing industry, increasing employment and promoting consumption upgrading. In the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Rwanda cooperation is expected to accelerate Rwanda’s transportation infrastructure. With the continuous improvement of infrastructure, the range of people using cars is also expanding, and the demand for cars is growing rapidly.
With the rapid development of economy and strong manufacturing capability, China’s automobile industry system improves day by day. China’s automobile production is increasing by a large margin every year. Currently, China has the ability of exporting large-scale industrial technology. In recent years, Chinese automobile brands have been going to southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and many other countries and regions, and the market share is constantly increasing, competing with other well-known international brands. This shows that the product quality of Chinese auto brands has been tested by the market.
As Chinese auto brands are slowly forming influence and competitiveness in the international market, Rwanda has been added to the large network with the coming of two Chinese automobile manufacturing firms namely ; Dongfeng Liuzhou Motor Co., Ltd. and Liuzhou Wuling Motor Co Ltd which have been represented by Carcarbaba in Rwanda.
The latter have thirty years of automobile manufacturing experience, and gradually shift from simple vehicle export to targeting at professional research of localized plant construction and local distribution.
In the future, Dongfeng and Wuling are expected to continue to accelerate innovation and transformation to provide consumers with more comprehensive automobile products. China, which has formed a world-class automobile manufacturing system, would like to share the high-quality cars of these two automobile brands with more Rwandan people
Generally, the biggest challenge of the economic cooperation between two countries is the trade barrier, which will increase the complexity of products entering the market. Therefore, the Rwandan government provides many preferential and convenient policies for the enterprises that come to Invest in Rwanda. Rwanda has a good business environment, which lays a good foundation for the development of Chinese auto brands in Rwanda. Chinese enterprise is not only selling products to Rwanda for the sake of profit but also brings high quality cars in Rwanda and cooperates with the well-known technical colleges IPRC to discuss automobile teaching courses.
If there is no systematic automobile after-sales service system, it will be very difficult for the car brand to thrive in the market. Through joint training repair mechanics, the company provides staff support for auto after-sales service, which raises Rwandan consumers’ confidence and experience of DONGFENG & Wuling automobile. The Chinese company does not only help to upgrade Rwanda’s automobile industry, but also brings more maintenance technology to increase employment opportunity.
Rwandan government is making new energy development strategy as a long-term development goal. It aims to ease air pollution. In line with the natural conditions and economic development planning, green travel is recommended. Dongfeng and Wuling are also expected to actively promote the new energy automotive technology industry research and industrial upgrade. In the future, they plan to continue exploring the deep integration of new energy and automobile industry so that they might meet Rwanda’s future development strategy.
After setting up showroom in Rwanda, IGIHE has caught up with the management to give more details about the new investment, uniqueness of these brands and advantages for local customers.
Q1 : Why did you choose these two brands—Dongfeng and Wuling ?
Because Dongfeng and Wuling are very popular with Chinese consumers, the auto groups of both brands sell millions of cars in a year in China. These two brands not only have considerable sales volume in the Chinese market, but also have been recognized by local consumers in South America, Southeast Asia and other markets.
Therefore, we hope to introduce the product lines of these two brands into the Rwandan market to offer local consumers more choices.
Q2 : In which context did the company set up an automobile showroom in Rwanda ?
Before I came here, I had heard that Rwanda had a reputation as the "land of a thousand hills", with clean streets, high levels of anti-corruption and a good business environment, which are all positive signs for foreign investors. Meanwhile, we also know that the local car market in Rwanda is highly competitive, and consumers would like to have more choices to buy cars with higher quality, more competitive prices, and consistent quality service. So, we finally decided to set up our first automobile showroom and garage in Kigali.
Q3 : Which model is the most recommended for Wuling and Dongfeng ?
Dongfeng currently promotes an SUV called T5EVO, which is defined as a Trendy SUV. Wuling, on the other hand, promotes RONGGUANG series of small trucks, which can meet the transportation needs of small and medium-sized merchants at a lower price. In short, we have both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles, which meets the needs of consumers.
Q4 : What kind of after-sales service support do you offer ?
We know that for local car users, perfect after-sales service is the biggest weak spot in their daily use of cars. Accordingly, warranty policies will be provided for different brands of vehicles. Besides, since we are the agent of these brands, customers do not have to worry about after-sales parts. We have professional maintenance engineers dispatched by manufacturers to provide automobile service guidance. Furthermore, we explore to train technical maintenance personnel with local schools. Through these measures, we hope to create a perfect after-sales service system to give users a better car use experience.
Q5 : What do you think of your brand’s advantage ?
The Chinese auto industry has the advantage of being a late bloomer. The quality of the core parts is as good as other brands and the design of the exterior and interior is even better. Product quality can be guaranteed while maintaining a reasonable price. And we are the sole agent of the manufacturer, setting up the showroom on behalf of manufacturer, with a strong after-sales service system.
Q6 : Where do you see yourself in the next ten years ?
In the future, Carcarbaba will set up an automobile sales service chain network in other African countries to provide local people with more choices of high-quality products and offer perfect after-sales service.
Q7 : Now, Rwanda is promoting green travel. Will you bring new energy vehicles in Rwanda ?
In the past few years, countries have actively participated in carbon neutralization, including China, and the Rwandan Government is unwilling to lag behind. We have learnt that the Rwandan government issued a policy to provide various free tax incentives for the import of electric vehicles. Our existing electric MPV, electric SUV, sightseeing vehicle, golf cart, new energy truck, new energy motorcycle and other electric vehicles will be introduced to Rwanda in due time to bring more purchasing choices to local consumers. We also plan to set up car charging stations in Rwanda.
Q8 : How are you positioned to create job opportunities in Rwanda ?
For now, we have reached a project cooperation with IPRC Kigali, the largest vocational training school in Rwanda, to provide local students with the maintenance technology training of new energy vehicles and of other products, and provide more professional talents for the local automobile after-sales service market.
At the same time, since our business has been localized, we will recruit local employees for sales, operations, after-sales service and other related positions. We hope to expand our business and recruit more local talent in the future.
All Photos : Shumbusho Djasiri