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Chinese carmaker gains reputation of good after-sale services

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-10-28 07:24

CAIRO - A stereotype among many Egyptian car owners that China only manufactures cheap cars with poor quality and service may soon be broken with Chinese automakers beefing up their after-sale services in Egyptian market.

In a service center of Senova, a vehicle type of the Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC), located on the outskirts of Cairo, Michael Awad, a super fan of the Chinese automaker's personal sedan, said that he came to buy a Senova vehicle following his brother's recommendation.

"My elder brother chose this car two years ago. The service center has been so supportive, so we bought another one. Now I am here to buy a third one," Awad said.

Awad told Xinhua that it was the comprehensive after-sale services BAIC offered that pushed him to make the decision.

"The service center receives us very well and does everything needed in the car no matter how slight (it is). My car has even received free oil and filter change here," he said.

The services provided in the center went far beyond maintenance and repairing: the second floor is a small cafe dotted with cozy sofas. You can even find a flat TV with video game console -- another reason for Senova's mainly young owners to drop by.

"The clients thought that a Chinese car will have an inexperienced and non-supportive service center. However, they have been surprised that we're one of the best service centers in Egypt regarding customer service and support," said Tarek Rafek, manager of Senova service center.

According to different sources, Egypt currently hosts five to eight million vehicles with 200,000 to 300,000 new ones sold each year. The number may seem unimpressive at first sight, yet once you put the most populous Arab country's 91 million residents into the equation, the market shows promise of potential growth.

Compared to the world's leading auto manufacturers, Chinese automakers are relatively new players who entered Egypt as late as the early 2000s. However, marques like BYD's F3, Chery's Tiggo and Geely's Emgrand can be seen everywhere on Cairo's crowded roads only a decade after.

Chinese-made cars reportedly accounted for 15 percent of the market share in Egypt in 2014.

Being a late-comer that entered Egypt in 2014, BAIC decided to win Egyptians' hearts with "best in town" after-sale services, as vice chairman of BAIC group Wei Huacheng told Xinhua during his recent visit to Cairo.

"Selling as many cars as possible is not enough. We also need to cater to customers' needs and provide satisfactory after-sale services," Wei said. "It is the only way to raise the profile of BAIC in Egypt."

Since the delivery of their first batch of cars to Egypt in August 2014, BAIC has managed to sell over 4,000 vehicles in the country.

Speaking of the future, Wei and service center manager Rafek are both optimistic.

Rafek, who have served six automobile companies in the past 11 years, told Xinhua that he saw "a future in BAIC."

He compared the entry of Chinese cars in the Egyptian market to that of Korean ones, saying that customers were reluctant about the Korean cars in the 1990s, but now Korean cars have become very common in Egypt, and that will also happen to the Chinese cars.

"I believe that if we maintain the current quality provided by BAIC, Chinese cars will further prevail in Egypt," he said.

Wei also expressed confidence of BAIC success in the Egyptian car market.

"Egypt's economy may be undergoing a hard time, but it is a country of 91 million people. This fact alone would make it a highly potential market," he said.

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