Belarus state-run automotive manufacturer association, Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), and Chinese crane manufacturer, Zoomlion, have established a joint venture business to start manufacturing special-purpose vehicles, including the following: mobile cranes; concrete pump trucks; concrete mixer trucks; and municipal vehicles.
MAZ will build the chassis while Chinese equipment manufacturer Zoomlion will provide the mounted equipment. The finished products will be primarily aimed at the post-Soviet and European markets, although vehicles could potentially be exported to the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Output is estimated to be around 1,000 vehicles over the next five years. Initially, 20 special-purpose sample vehicles are expected to be built in 2017, with mass production starting in 2018.
According to the new joint company’s CEO, Yuri Pivovarov, vehicles will be built at vacant facilities belonging to Mahilyowtransmash - a MAZ subsidiary that makes cranes, trailers and semi-trailers. He was reported as saying, “Some work will definitely have to go into the end product. Things will be rethought and recreated anew because it is impossible to simply put together two parts as a construction kit.”
The overall outlook, however, is positive with both parties hoping to benefit from the collaboration. “We are not just going to replicate things. We set out to create unique vehicles that we will be able to sell on the global market,” a MAZ spokesperson commented.
“Many people wonder why China? Because they are ready to share their best practices and enter a partnership,” Pivovarov added. “Russian companies are not going to share anything with us. Europeans will not do that either because they view us as competition. The Chinese private sector views us as friends. At the same time we will be able to considerably expand our market share.” The agreement to create such a joint venture was reached during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Belarus in May 2015.