Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) has started construction of a new R500 million press shop in its Uitenhage assembly plant. The investment is in addition to the R4.5 billion the car maker has invested in South Africa over the past four years.
David Powels, VWSA’s group managing director, said the investment would enable further local content gains and improvements to overall competitiveness when it was fully operational from the middle of next year.
“Construction of the new press shop was a strategic investment. Its installed capacity will cover the forecast total production requirements for the manufacture of larger sheet metal components,” he said at a sod turning for the new press shop last week. He said the project would create 50 new construction crew jobs. The new building will consist of an 8 429m2 main production hall, to house the state-of-the-art six-stage press line and its required services.
The main contractor for the project is Group Five Coastal with main sub-contractors Esorfranki Africa responsible for piling and Scott Steel for structural fabrication. BKS is the consulting engineer and Germany’s IC-L the pit design sub-consultant .
Powel said a lot of thought had gone into the effect the building would have on the environment and the new press shop would be VWSA’s most “ecofriendly” building.
Hubert Waltl, a member of the VW brand board of management and chairman of VWSA, stressed VW’s commitment to South Africa had never been stronger.
“The R4bn investment by VWSA in its plant included R40 million in increased automation in its press shop; R780m in its body shop; R400m in its engine plant; R400m in its final assembly plant; R40m in its wheel and tyre assembly plant; R100m in renovating its logistics facilities; R25m in training academies; R80m in other production support areas; and massive but undisclosed investment in its quality measurement facilities.”
A number of suppliers have collectively invested about R600m in South Africa, which has contributed significantly towards VWSA dramatically improving its local content levels. These include Rehau, Benteler, Flextech, Faurecia and Grupo Antolin. - Roy Cokayne