Why the choice of Chinese brand of trucks
The choice of Chinese brand of trucks came when we observed that there were several trucks in the country that were old, dilapidated and causing road accidents and killing innocent Nigerians every day. We thought of the idea that why can’t we have a truck that is affordable and still as rugged as some of this trucks we see on the road that is at the time adaptable to Nigerian roads.
That instead of truck owners bringing in used trucks that will constitute a threat to lives and property in the country that they will access to buying the same truck that is brand new with warranty and that can stand the test of time. That was gave rise to the idea of bringing in Chinese trucks.
We saw that the only truck that met that specification is that brand called Sinotruk and that is how we went into partnership with a company called the Chinese National Heavy duty Trucks Company (CNHTC) that produced the product called Sinotruk.
How long have you been with CNHTC and what level of collaboration
Richbon have been with Sinotruck for more than six years and the level of collaboration and cooperation have been mutually beneficial and it has not only benefitted the two parties, it has also benefitted the Nigerian truck market users.
Can you throw more light on partnership?
Right now as you can see, you know that the truck has become very popular and widely accepted in the country because of the unique selling features of ruggedness and its affordability. The truck in 2011 was adjudged by The Nigeria Auto Award as the fastest selling truck brand in the country. If you travel to any part of the road in Nigeria and you are doing a statistics, you will find out that you cannot count at least four,five trucks without counting one Sinotruk.
What competition are you facing from trucks like Mercedes, MAN, Foton, Mark and others?
Well competition as it were is part of life. We are all aware that the consuming public is very discerning and each organization knows exactly why it needs a product and why it should go for it. Sinotruk is a brand that have carved a niche for itself and the truck currently is being used very well by most haulage companies and they have realized that it is rugged and is adaptable to different topography and competition as it were have even been very positive to us.
I can tell you it has brought out the best from the brand and fleet customers are familiar with its performance, hence the continuous demand for it regularly by these customers. It has done more good to us and no harm for us a company and we want this healthy competition to go on and on so that the Nigerian market will enjoy the best of trucks in the future.
What is Richbon’s relationship with the National Trucks Manufacturers, Kano
They are also distributors of Sinotruk range of Howo trucks just like us and we are all enjoying a very good relationship.
Challenges of trucks business in Nigeria
We are not insulated from what is going in the economy. We are all aware that the economy is the part of recovery after a recession and this is not peculiar to us as an organization and we also know that this kind of business is capital intensive. But the major challenge is that of finance and we need government support in terms of giving more concession in terms of duty payment.
Impact of proliferation of Tokunbo trucks and how it has affected your market for new ones.
Tokunbo trucks as it referred to are used trucks that sometimes you don’t know the condition that the previous owners brought them into the country or even the owners here in the country have used them and the effect first of all on the economy has not been very positive in the sense that it has ended up constituting so much nuisance, so much harm, most of the times, they have brake failure. Why we went into the dealership is that in terms of pricing, they are almost the same amount for brand new trucks.
We also realized that part of the reasons why the tokunbo trucks failed is because most of the drivers are not trained. We ensure the customers give drivers training which will have a great impact on our society as a whole. We ensure we maintain these trucks for our customers at least for the period of the warranty.
Sinotruk Nigeria ensures that spare parts are available and make sure that the qualities of the trucks are of high standards. With that, a lot of Nigerians have said that it does not make any economic purchasing tokunbo tones and more so, many banks will not even finance it in the first place. Therefore, so many Nigerians are gradually switching over from tokunbo to brand new trucks, especially the Sinotruk trucks.
Do you have complete spare parts inventory
We have all the parts available that can meet our day-to-day after sales maintenance services at all time. We keep replenishing our stocks whenever necessary all in the bid to serve our customers better.
How are you meeting the after sales needs of your customers
Our warranty is one year or 100,000kilometers, whichever comes first and we have a workshop that we can comfortably say is one of the best, not only in Nigeria, but in West Africa. We have technical experts from Sinotruk manufacturers China that works with us, that helps to maintain this trucks here in Nigeria.
We are also planning to set up workshops in the six geopolitical zones in the country. Some of them are under construction as we speak and the essence of that workshop is to ensure that customers ensure the best after sales service.
Currently, we make sure, we are in constant touch with users and are always to be close to our respective customers enjoy our services wherever they may be throughout the federation. We sell different types of Sinotruk models including different dimensions of the tractors, dump site models, flatbeds including the fastest selling trucks now called the Howo series which is the most popular brand. As trucks gets older, there is need to set up service centers and that is why Richbon is embarking on nationwide after sales service centre expansion.