Quest tractor line in slow take off, looks for govt lift

Quest tractor line in slow take off, looks for govt lift

HARARE, June 8 (The Source) – Mutare-based vehicle assembler Quest Motors says its new tractor assembling line is yet to take off, with orders to supply just 10 tractors this year, but hopes for a government order to lift production.

The company started assembling its first line of Foton Tractors last year with a target of increasing plant capacity utilisation and widening the number of Chinese vehicle brands it currently assembles.

Quest Motors director Tarik Adam told The Source that uptake is currently driven by private players, but due to liquidity challenges in the economy, demand was depressed.

Adam said the firm targets to supply tractors to the government under the Brazil-Zimbabwe More-Food Africa programme which involves distribution of agricultural equipment including tractors. Quest company has had no response from authorities yet.

“We are targeting to sell 10 tractors this year with uptake from private players and we are saying without government buying, uptake will remain slow,” he said.

The $98 million 15-year loan facility provided by the South American country is aimed at supporting small-scale farmers with equipment, including fertiliser spreaders and irrigation.

Government last year awarded multi-million dollar contracts to the company for the supply of a wide-range of vehicles, providing a temporary filip to the struggling firm.

Adam said Quest has capacity to produce 23,000 tractors per year.  The company currently holds the franchise for Chinese makes such as Foton, JMC and Chery as well as the German-made BMW. It also expects to add other Cherry and Foton models.

Last year it reached agreements to start assembling Mitsubishi, Toyota and Suzuki truck and sports utility vehicles (SUV). The previous year, it started assembling the Chinese-built, Cummins-powered Tunland double cabs.