Source: Quest Motors capacity utilisation below 1 percent | The Herald June 15, 2016
Martin Kadzere : Senior Business Reporter
QUEST Motors’ capacity utilisation has dropped to below 1 percent with the Mutare-based vehicle assembler having sold only 40 units this year, an official has said. Operations director Mr Carl Fernandez told The Herald Business yesterday the situation has been further worsened by the prevailing cash crisis, which has seen the company failing to pay for new kits.“We are down to only one percent and we have sold not more than 40 units this year,” said Fernandez. “It is a very tough situation.”
Quest assembles brands which include Chery, and JMC and Q Buses. It is also produces Foton Tunland single and double cabs, Mitshubishi Triton double cab and Yutong H11. When the factory was working at full capacity on a single eight-hour shift, it was between 12 000 and 15 000 vehicles per year and was employing close to 15 000 workers.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development in April this year, Quest Motors chief executive Mr Tarik Adam said the company had to significantly cut down its production as uptake for locally manufactured vehicles had been decimated by high level of vehicle imports.
He said line ministries and Government departments have developed innovative ways to circumvent the 2002 Presidential directive that all Government institutions should buy their vehicles locally, which has left the sector struggling. The directive was introduced to support the local industry and conserve scarce foreign reserves, but local motor vehicle manufacturers claim that the directive has not been adhered to.
Mr Fernandez has however said some schools have started showing interests in their buses and this could help push volumes in the near future.
“Even if we just get the bus side moving, we will able to sustain our operations. We are also hoping the cash crisis will improve as this has negatively impacted on the business,” said Mr Fernandez.