File picture: Quickpic.
JOHANNESBURG - Chinese carmaker BAIC said yesterday that it expected the first vehicles to roll off its new R11 billion South African assembly plant early next year, with most of the vehicles destined for export. 

The factory, near the car export hub of Port Elizabeth, would be the first new car plant in South Africa in four decades and was expected to build 50000 vehicles a year by 2022, half its estimated peak output, company officials said. 

The Chinese have a 65% stake in the joint venture, with state-owned Industrial Development Corporation owning the rest. Construction is several months behind schedule, mainly due to contractor and labour disputes. 

The assembly plant includes a paint and body shop but all parts will be imported. 

South Africa’s new vehicle sales rose 6.7% year-on-year to 49 222 units last month.