BCI departure won't faze Bonluck

The builder of pre-2011 BCI buses – Bonluck – remain determined to continue its vehicle supply into Australia, changing direction, ramping up, yet harbouring some post-BCI disappointment

BCI departure won't faze Bonluck
BCI departure won’t faze Bonluck

By David Goeldner | May 25, 2011

Chinese bus builder Bonluck (BLK) will continue supplying vehicles to the Australian market following its split with Bus and Coach International (BCI) earlier this year.

BLK Overseas Marketing Director Ken Lee says the manufacturer will sell buses from its Nanchang factory, continuing the supply of vehicles previously badged as BCI.

"Actually Bonluck never left the Australian market, it’s just that its products were badged Bus and Coach International for the past few years," Lee says.

To continue trading in Australia post-BCI, Bonluck applied for vehicle certification through the Canberra-based Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) last December, with approval granted in January.

Bonluck more recently underwent an RVCS Conformity of Production audit, says Lee.

"You don’t get a pat on the back from these audits, just two outcomes, ‘generally satisfactory’ or ‘generally unsatisfactory’," he says.

"We received a ‘generally satisfactory’ report."

Bonluck also holds ISO 9001/ 2008 quality accreditation, recently renewed.

Lee says Bonluck is not shying away from the after-affects of BCI’s departure from the Nanchang factory to set up a separate operation with Fengtai at Xiamen in southern China, taking several senior BLK personnel to the new FTBCI factory.

"There has been considerable poaching of our staff to leave us and go to the new BCI factory," says Lee.

"My father, the chairman of our company, just said if they want to go just let them go."

Lee says some staff have since returned to Nanchang, and new personnel have also been recruited to cover permanent departures.

Loyalty counts for plenty in Chinese corporate culture, prompting Lee to elicit an outpouring of disappointment at the perceived defection of staff.

"We can do much better now we are in control with no outside influences except end-user feedback," says Lee.

"The result now is that we have better people in our management positions and a more loyal workforce."

Lee is confident that BLK’s post-BCI supply to the Australian market place will benefit from a new direction.

"The new direction we are introducing is a lean company with minimum overheads whilst not ignoring the needs of our customers," says Lee.

"We are setting up a national maintenance agreement and we intend covering warranty in several different ways, including an owner repair system."

Lee says any owner of a BCI-badged bus or coach made in the Nanchang factory will still be regarded as a BLK customer.

"We will do business with new and old customers whether it’s for a new vehicle requirement or a service matter," he says.

Lee adds that BLK is serious about improving its market position in Australia.

"We have had a lot of interest in our presence (in Australia) and it is now up to us to convince the operators that we are serious about their business," he says.

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