Japanese motor group Isuzu has announced that it will invest R1.2 billion in South Africa’s next generation bakkie programme, which will add value of R2.8 billion throughout its lifecycle.
The group said that its current plans are to grow the company’s annual bakkie production to 29,000 units per annum.
Yoichi Masuda, senior executive officer for Isuzu Motors Limited and chairman of the Isuzu Motors South Africa board, said that the decision to invest in the production of the next generation bakkie in South Africa demonstrated the group’s commitment to the local market.
“This is further reinforced by the fact that this operation is the bakkie and truck manufacturing and distribution operation which is 100% owned Isuzu operation outside of Japan,” he said.
Masuda emphasised the important role the government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme plays in providing predictability and stability for investors when making long-term business decisions.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, welcomed the announcement saying it will contribute immensely towards President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive.
“This investment shows confidence in the South African economy’s growth potential and will help to secure more than 1000 direct jobs at the plant.
“The South African Automotive Master Plan, developed in partnership between government and industry, provides a good basis for companies to plan and gives policy certainty on which investment decisions can be made,” Patel said.
South Africa will initially serve as the main market for the next generation bakkies but with growing volumes expected to be generated from the roll-out of its Sub-Saharan Africa growth strategy, which will be geared at further strengthening its position in key markets as well as its overall distribution footprint.
Isuzu’s biggest markets in Sub-Saharan Africa currently include Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast. Last year the company’s sales in these markets increased by 17% versus the prior year.