E London pulls in car part makers

7 December 2006

There are seven new investors in the new Automobile Supplier Park at the East London Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape, it was announced on Wednesday. They will inject R395-million into the industrial development zone (IDZ), bringing the total investment to R755-million since its inception.

Speaking at the announcement, the zone’s chief executive officer, Simphiwe Kondlo, said the new investments would more than double the value of investment committed to the IDZ, while almost tripling the number of companies that would be settling there.

“These investors are part of the automotive cluster that has been developed by the [zone] in an attempt to further strengthen the province’s capabilities in the automotive industry,” Kondlo said, adding that the “most exciting part . is that we are talking about investments that are at an advanced stage of establishment.

“We are talking about companies whose premises have already been constructed, companies who are already starting to bring their equipment into their factories within the zone.”

In the past 18 months the IDZ has attracted almost 10 investors, including the newly announced ones. “Three of those companies are already operating from the zone”, Kondlo said.

The seven new investors – Johnson Controls, Feltex Automotive Trim, Feltex Fehrer, Futuris Feltex, Carcoustics, Eurofit and TI Automotive – are mostly first-tier automotive component suppliers to DaimlerChrysler South Africa’s W204 model, to be launched in 2007.

The Automobile Supplier Park, the biggest project so far undertaken by the zone, was constructed specifically to meet the demands of DaimlerChrysler’s new Mercedes Benz C-Class model.

“It was in July this year that we awarded the contract for the construction of the Automobile Supplier Park,” Kondlo said. “Now, just five months later, factories are up and machinery is starting to go in and the [park] is almost ready for business.”

The new investors will create 600 jobs in the automotive industry, one of South Africa’s strongest performing sectors.

Source: Buffalo City