File photo: (David Zalubowski / AP).
JOHANNESBURG - Automotive supplier Adient South Africa has expanded its local operations through the investment of $7.4 million (R100m) in a new trim plant in Rosslyn, which provides employment to 370 people.

The plant supplies seat covers and complete seat just-in-time (JIT) assembly for the new BMW X3 model.

Renai Moothilal, the executive director of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers, said the development of the world-class plant was the result of close collaboration and skills-transfer between Adient South Africa and Adient teams around the world.

He said the investment demonstrated the value of localisation and the country's ability to execute globally for some of the world's most demanding clients.

Moothilal said it was only through this type of sector-wide localisation that South Africa could hope to compete directly with other emerging automotive economies, such as those in Thailand, Turkey and Mexico.

“In fact, the component manufacturing sector has seen greater interest in localisation opportunities by vehicle assemblers in the past year," he added.

“Such an investment showcases the capability of, and trust in, the South African-based suppliers, and we look forward to seeing more such examples.”