The South African taxi industry has been flooded with new brands over the last few years. The bulk of the newcomers have been of Chinese origin, with many unrecognisable badges. Now another newcomer in entering the fray.
Beijing Auto Works (BAW) South Africa has announced the introduction of its new 16-seater minibus taxi, known as Sasuka, which means “we are departing” in Zulu.
“Our three major objectives with the Sasuka programme, starting with this model, are to provide innovation, passenger orientation and value,” says John Jessup, BAW SA’s head of sales, marketing and after-sales.
Unlike most of its competitors, BAW’s offering will be assembled at a plant in Springs in South Africa. The Sasuka is powered by a 2,7-litre petrol engine that delivers 110 kW of power at 5 200 r/min and 235 N.m of torque at 4 000 r/min.
The vehicle features ABS brakes with EBD and retractable seat belts as BAW is determined to improve safety levels significantly.
Passengers can be entertained by the touchscreen on the console which not only operates the CD/radio but also a DVD player, which plays movies via a fold-down television screen mounted on the forward ceiling. The system will also be able to show live television once the local terrestrial stations are ready with digital transmissions. A navigation system is built into the front console screen.
Factory-fitted air-conditioning with units in both the front and forward ceiling area are standard to keep occupants cool in the SA summer. Integrated tracking equipment and Bluetooth is also standard. Value-adds for owners include alloy wheels, wider white-wall tyres, an additional 110 mm of space in the passenger seating area and two-tone UV resistant PVC seating with an eight-degree rear-tilt capability.
The price of R275 990 includes a two-year/200 000 km service plan, which also covers maintenance of the entire braking system. Service intervals are every 10 000 km and will be undertaken via a one-hour express-service concept. The warranty period is for two years or 100 000 km.