VW plans third production facility in Africa
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Johannesburg - The Volkswagen Group (VW) plans to further expand its vehicle production presence in Africa by commencing with the assembly of the Polo Vivo in Kenya by the end of this year.
This follows the signing of an agreement by the Kenyan government and Volkswagen South Africa chairman and managing director Thomas Schaefer in Nairobi on Wednesday in the presence of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Kenyan production facility will be VW’s third on the African continent.
The group already has a vehicle manufacturing plant in Uitenhage and last year launched a semi knocked down (SKD) assembly operation in Nigeria.
It is planned that a plant operated by Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers in Thika near Nairobi will commence assembly of the Polo Vivo by the end of this year and increase production to up to 5 000 units a year from next year.
Further VW models could be assembled at the plant if the Kenyan new vehicle market reacts positively to the venture.
Matt Gennrich, the communications general manager at Volkswagen South Africa, confirmed the Polo units would be assembled on a SKD basis, using vehicle kits exported to Kenya from VW’s Uitenhage plant.
Importer DT Dobie is part of the Kenyan project.
Schaefer said Volkswagen would be taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African car market.
“This compact model is the best selling car in the sub Saharan region, so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market. With this move, we are strengthening the brand’s overall position in Africa and taking an important step towards expanding our commitment in the region,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the investment by the Volkswagen Group in Kenya was a key milestone in the determined push by his administration to grow the manufacturing base and industrialise the nation.