Chinese car-maker BAIC said on Tuesday (26 September) that it expects its first vehicles to roll off its new R11 billion South African assembly plant early next year – with most of the vehicles destined for export.
According to a report by Reuters, the factory will be based near export hub Port Elizabeth making it the first new car plant in South Africa in four decades.
The plant is expected to build 50,000 vehicles a year by 2022, half its estimated peak output.
BAIC has a 65% stake in the joint venture, with South Africa’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation owning the rest, reports Reuters.
“We expect the first cars from the plant in the second quarter of next year,” said Sun Tongli, BAIC’s senior manager.
“The market is tough here in South Africa but they do foresee the regional SADC (Southern African Development Community) market, including South Africa, will be picking up in due course,” said Kingsley Dell-Robertson of the IDC.
The factory is expected to be a major boost for the local economy as well as the national motoring economy which was rocked earlier this year with the news that General Motors had decided to leave the country.
BAIC will join other manufacturers Toyota, BMW, Ford and Volkswagen which all currently boast manufacturing plants in the country.