Besides the joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and FAW-Toyota, FAW Jiefang has probably been the only bright spot for FAW Group in recent times as far as its wide array of independent brand arms are concerned.
The surprising thing is that it has been trucks, the medium and heavy-duty variety, that have gotten all the press praise while the passenger vehicle brands fight for a presence in the market.
FAW Jiefang, now the No. 1 heavy-duty truck maker, sold 77,000 medium and heavy-duty trucks combined in the first quarter of 2017, that is up 87 percent and good for nearly a quarter of the market (23.6 percent to be exact). More importantly, the 77,000 units sold already represents more than a third of this year’s sales target of 227,000 units.
As our guest columnist Yao Wei points out in her article, FAW Jiefang’s recent resurgence over the last year or so is obviously partly due to the overall rebound of the heavy-duty truck market driven by regulations (heck, who isn’t growing in the segment), but more importantly it has to do with the company’s efforts in its so-called “soft” strength. That means coming up with the right products for the right segments or even identifying new segments and coming up with products that solve customers’ pain points, and do so at a nimble speed.
And it also has to do with people.
One of the first executive moves that Xu Ping, the new chairman of FAW Group who came to the helm from “brother” company Dongfeng Motor Corp. in that famous executive swap two years ago, was to put in the former head of sales of FAW-Volkswagen Hu Hanjie at the helm of vice president of FAW Jiefang in charge of sales. That has made all the difference as Hu immediately used his arsenal and experience from the passenger vehicle segment and put them into place for trucks. Hu in fact said at FAW Jiefang’s 2017 business conference that its sales and marketing system will benchmark against advanced passenger vehicle sales and marketing system. The implementation of that transformation in the second half of 2015 reaped huge benefits as FAW Jiefang sales grew rapidly in 2016 and so far in 2017. The transformation of its sales and marketing business model helped boost sales and marketing personnel competency, raised network sales and marketing capabilities, improved sales process standardization and elevated sales and service satisfaction.
In essence, the 60-year-old state-owned truck maker is run with a nimble passenger vehicle style sales and marketing team, and that has given the company already with a strong truck brand an even further boost.