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SA's CMC expands budget line-up

2011-06-17 14:19

CHINESE MUSCLE: The Plutus range of bakkies will soon been bolstered with 4x4 versions.

Local Chinese import pioneers, CMC is expanding its offer by adding cars and commercial vehicles to its existing line of taxis and promises to have an SA manufacturing plant running by the end of 2011.

Probably best known for its Amandla 14-seater and Ses’buyile 16-seater people-carriers that have proved immensely popular with taxi operators, family-run CMC is keen to build on its successes of the past three years by including passenger and light commercial vehicles in its portfolio.

The range has a 76kW 2.2 and a 102-kW 2.4 petrol engines in its buses that have been transferred to do duty in the single and double-cab Plutus bakkies. Each engine, based on either Toyota or Isuzu architecture, is mated to five-speed manual gearbox.


The Plutus models are available only as a 4x2 but 4x4 and a 2.5-litre common-rail turbodiesel will be introduced within the month, chief operating officer Imraan Moola said.

The bakkies are rather attractive, although price will undoubtedly be the key attraction to the Plutus range: they start at R139 990 for the single-cab 2.2 and rise to R179 990 for the double-cab 2.4.

Each unit has ABS with EBD and comes with a driver's airbag, power-assisted steering, power windows, an audio system and rubberised load bins.

STYLISH EXTERIOR: Lifan is one of the biggest privately-owned vehicle manufacturers in China.


In the passenger car range, CMC has tied up with another Chinese manufacturer, Lifan, to introduce its family sedan and hatchback offerings in South Africa. The attractive passenger car range includes two 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engines: a 65kW 1.3 and a 78kW 1.6.

Both Lifan models have ABS but only the 1.6 has two front airbags. Aircon and central locking are standard, along with a CD magazine, adjustable steering column and alloy wheels. 

Every CMC vehicle is delivered with a three-year or 60 000km service plan, a three-year or 100 000km warranty and roadside assistance for three years. Moola also assured those present that CMC has a 99% parts availability for its 60 dealers across South Africa.

Unfortunately, the journalists present were not allowed to drive the vehicles although they were on display for us to kick the tyres and open and shut the doors. The entire CMC range is sourced from China and the initial impression on the interior quality and fittings was not especially pleasant.

The hard plastics used and the quality of the workmanship (maligned panels and components and jagged edges on some fittings) could be better although, given the increasing number of cars sourced from China on our roads, there are some who don’t mind that too much. Wheels24 has been invited to test a number of the vehicles; we’ll let you know how that goes. 

BAKKIE NICETIES: The cabin of the double-cab Plutus has a number of modcons including an audio system and power steering.


In addition to its new model introductions, CMC also revealed its plans to open a manufacturing plant in Harrismith in the Free State. It will produce the company’s current six-vehicle range for the South African market and for export. CMC claims the development will see a R1-billion investment in the local economy and create around 2500 permanent jobs in the area.

Furthermore, Moola also noted that the company was planning a rally programme based on its Plutus bakkie and using the expertise gained from the manufacturer’s motorsport programme in China.

There are many who assert the best way to see how a vehicle will really stand up to pressure is to chuck it around a couple of rally courses for a season. Proponents of this form of quality control may soon have some off-road rallying to look forward to.

Plutus single cab 2.2i  -  R139 990
Plutus double cab 2.2i  -   R159 990
Plutus double cab 2.4i  -  R174 990

Lifan F520i 1.3 hatchback  -  R117 990      
Lifan LF520 1.3 sedan  -  R122 990      
Lifan F520i 1.6 hatchback  -  R129 990
Lifan LF520 1.6 sedan  -  134 990

Amandla  -  R199 990
Ses'buyile  -  R259 990


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