Tata has yet to confirm which vehicles it will build in South Africa, but the Xenon bakkie is a reasonable bet.

Tata is set to begin construction of a vehicle assembly plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, later this month, Business Day has reported. The company's spokesman in Dubai, Debasis Ray, confirmed the investment yesterday.

"We're not giving out any details now, but it's been in the planning for some time to build an assembly plant in SA" he said.

Ray said Tata would announce details of its new South African plant shortly. "We're very excited that it's got to the point that it's come to fruition. We're on the doorstep of a major milestone."

He would not, however, comment on the size of Tata's investment or what vehicles the plant would be building.

The company imports the relatively affordable Indica hatchback as well as the Worker and Xenon bakkies, but its main business in this country is a range of heavy, medium and extra-heavy trucks and commercial vehicles, and buses.

And while Tata has earned a reputation for providing affordable passenger and commercial vehicles, it is not renowned for its quality. Will building the cars in South Africa improve this situation? Only time will tell.

The announcement comes at a time of increased interest in vehicle investments into South Africa.

Toyota SA confirmed it was negotiating with the government to produce minibus taxis at its Durban plant, while Calibra Motor Corporation (CMC) wants to build a factory in Harrismith to produce Chinese taxis. -Sapa and IOL