Touchscreen display with sat-nav, fold-down DVD screen with digital TV capability, ABS brakes with EBD, air-con, service plan and 110 kW engine: sounds like a typical mid-range sedan. Actually, it’s the latest entrant on SA’s minibus taxi market, the locally assembled 16-seater BAW Sasuka (Zulu for “we are departing”).
The Sasuka is the first product from the BAW assembly plant in Springs, which was officially opened last November. The Chinese company plans to follow it up with light commercial, sport utility and passenger vehicles over the next 12 to 18 months.
BAW sales chief John Jessup says the vehicle’s price of R275 990 puts it about 15 per cent below its main competitor. That price includes a two-year/ 200 000 km service plan, which covers maintenance of the braking system.
Other features include remote keyless central unlocking, integrated tracking hardware, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, and high-back tiltable UVresistant seats.
The company is planning innovative sales schemes and will operate out of 40 to 50 dealerships, Jessup says. It will also be looking at mobile service units.