Car assembler cries foul over direct bus imports

MUTARE - Mutare based motor vehicles assembler, Quest Motors, has said they are being condemned to doing bus repairs as corrupt schools officials continue to engage briefcase middlemen to procure school buses directly from outside in return for kickbacks.

Holding the franchise to build Yutong and Zhong Tong buses, the complete-knock-down vehicle assemblers said the same models they have capacity to assemble are still being imported from Asia at much higher premiums, only for the same schools to request their services in registering them.

Quest general manager Tom Sarimana alleged rampant corruption, particularly among school development committee members, in awarding tenders for the purchase of buses.

He said some are so audacious in their demands that they request kickbacks in form of vehicles in order to approve bus purchases.

“Some would demand ... cars in exchange for receiving business but sadly, this is not in line with our professional business practice,” Sarimana said.

He said this leaves them picking crumbs through facilitating their registration as public vehicles at the Vehicle Inspectorate Department as well as maintaining the buses and repairing them when they either break down or are involved in accidents.

Sarimana said bending rules was not in their rule-book even though the vehicle assembler is struggling to remain open as government, which is the biggest buyer of vehicles on the local market, continues to shun it, preferring imports despite the company having full capacity to produce.

Major government institutions such as ministries, the police, army and a string of State-owned enterprises, can easily turn around the situation if they buy their vehicles locally.

It also risks losing its 55-year human capital investment as its staff continue to age and die without proper skills transfer.

The Mutare manufacturing plant has been running since 1960 initially as Australian Motor Corporation.

It has to date assembled over 100 000 vehicles of 170 different models, including passenger vehicles, trucks and tractors. The plant can build 10 different models per day, while it can produce 35 vehicles at full capacity with a full staff complement of 

4 500.

It currently employs only about 120 workers of which around 20 are students.

Quest currently holds the franchise for Japanese manufacturers Mitsubishi, Toyota, Suzuki, Chinese makes such as Foton, JMC and Chery as well as for German carmaker, BMW.

    Post a comment

    Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
    Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
    - Editor

    Your email address will not be shared.