Machine and industry manufacturer, Bell Equipment, is planning to launch a new addition to its American product portfolio. The company will launch a South African-made off-road truck in Las Vegas in 2020. Bell chief executive officer (CEO) Leon Goosen says that the truck will be less than 30 tonnes and will be manufactured at the company’s assembly plant in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal.

This vehicle will be aimed at the United States oil production market for use in marshes and swamps. These wet and muddy landscapes are common near oil fields in America. “We hope this will become a significant export product for us,” says Goosen. However, the off-road truck can also be sold to private individuals who live in similar wetlands.

Bell Equipment looking to expand product portfolio

This vehicle marks the first time Bell will enter the market for smaller trucks. The company usually specialises in articulated dump trucks and heavy earth-moving equipment. Goosen states that Bell is also in the process of developing a few other products for various market segments.

“We want to enlarge our portfolio of original equipment. If we want to grow internationally, we need to grow our intellectual property. We want to enter the large export markets with more of our own products. This will take time, and we would probably only see something happening three years from now. We have to make sure we test these products properly,” explains Goosen.

Off-road truck will be good for business

The addition of the off-road truck to the Richards Bay plant portfolio will help to boost not only Bell’s production volumes but South Africa’s vehicle export volumes as well. The company is currently embarking on a global business tour to promote its products. This comes after Bell acquired Matriarch Equipment – a KwaZulu-Natal-based manufacturer that designs and produces equipment for the forestry and sugar industries.

Bell has shown significant growth over the past year, despite tough economic conditions in many of the market segments in which the company operates. “The strong and diversified position that we occupy globally has been advantageous in countering the more difficult operating geographies,” says Goosen.

North America remains a key area of growth for Bell. Its products are being well-received in the United States, so expanding its portfolio in this region will drive business growth. However, South Africa still remains the primary market for Bell, where its full product and service lines are being prepared for a market recovery.


Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and the export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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