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South African company throws lifeline to Chinese car brand

A Chinese carmaker in South Africa has been thrown a lifeline after its parent company decided to sell its local subsidiary.

Jiangling Motors Corporation Limited, otherwise known as JMC, has been active in South Africa for well over a decade but was recently taken over by local distributor WilGin Holdings to continue its operations here.

JMC in South Africa

JMC is an auto brand operating out of Nanghang, China, first opening its doors in South Africa in 2010.

Things went smoothly at first but like with many manufacturers, the Covid-19 pandemic was a difficult period for the business and it was decided that JMC would sell its South African subsidiary to a locally-owned distributor to manage things from that point onwards.

Since then, JMC South Africa was handed over to WilGin Holdings, a company based in Kempton Park, Gauteng.

By taking over the company, WilGin will continue to provide parts and honour the warranties and service plans of customers who’ve already bought their JMC wheels.

Additionally, the organisation will distribute the Chinese DFSK brand in the domestic market, which produces a range of light commercial offerings.

However, the DFSK cars will not be a replacement for the JMC models that Mzansi motorists may be familiar with, the latter of which dabbled in the passenger-vehicle market with units like the Landwind crossover, which was a competitor to the Haval H2 at the time.

Another product was the JMC Vigus, which is comparable to the GWM P-Series as an affordable lifestyle double cab.

DFSK, in contrast, is bringing out entry-level commercial vehicles like the K01S compact bakkie and the C35 panel van, which will arrive here in the next two to three months.

The K01S is noteworthy in that it is expected to become the cheapest bakkie in South Africa upon its arrival with a starting tag of less than R180,000, placing it below the current title holder – the Suzuki Super Carry – which starts at R182,900.

It runs on a 1.2-litre petrol engine with 61kW and 112Nm, and can carry up to 900kg in the rear tray.

The larger C35 panel van, meanwhile, uses a 1.5-litre powerplant with 85kW and 148Nm and can haul a payload of 1,900kg.

All DFSK vehicles will be sold with a one-year warranty once the new bakkie and van go on sale later in 2024.

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