VW investing R4 billion into South African plant – with a new car in the works

 ·16 Apr 2024

Volkswagen Group Africa is investing R4 billion into its manufacturing plant in Kariega, Eastern Cape.

The investment will be used to upgrade facilities in preparation for the addition of a third model to its production line in 2027.

Most of the R4 billion will be spent on production facilities, manufacturing tooling, local content tooling and quality assurance.

Over R850 million will enhance automation in the Body Shop, while over R400 million will be used in the Press Shop to procure new press tooling.

The first phase of the upgrade will begin at the end of the year during a plant shutdown.

“Plant Kariega is an important manufacturing plant within the Volkswagen Group production network,” said Martina Biene, Chairperson and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Africa.

“Since 2011, Volkswagen has invested R10,28 billion in production facilities, manufacturing equipment, local content tooling and training of people. The new investment is a vote of confidence in the future of the plant.

“It also futureproofs jobs, not only for our people but also those employed in our supplier network,” explained Biene.

New car

The new model, an SUV, will be manufactured on the same production line as the Polo and Polo Vivo.

The preparation for the production of the new SUV will also provide for training and upskilling opportunities for the group’s employees.

Although Volkswagen Brazil are leading the design and development of the new SUV, Volkswagen SA is collaborating with the Brazilian team to meet local and continental requirements, which includes the development of a right-hand drive version,

Despite the push for electric vehicles, Volkswagen still sees this shift taking a lot longer for Africa than the rest of the world.

“As most global vehicle markets transition to electric vehicles, African markets like South Africa will continue manufacturing and selling vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs) for the foreseeable future, owing to customer demand for ICEs and slow introduction of electric vehicles in these markets.”

“However, for the Volkswagen brand the electrification journey begins this year with the introduction of our ID.4 test fleet in South Africa and Rwanda.”

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