VW extends South Africa investment

18 June 2010

Volkswagen has launched a R230-million parts and accessories distribution centre in Centurion outside Pretoria, while announcing a R500-million investment in a new press shop at its plant in Uitenhage – further demonstrating the company’s commitment to South Africa.

The car maker has invested over R5-billion in its operations in the country over the past four years – R4-billion of this over the past two years – and has embarked on a new strategy that will see the local content levels in its Polo and Polo Vivo cars increased from 40% to 70%.

World-class operation

The company’s Uitenhage plant in the Eastern Cape is also the sole supplier of four-door Polos to right-hand-drive markets, as well as the sole manufacturer of the new Cross Polo for all global markets.

“The new systems and processes to be installed in this giant distribution centre will enable improved levels of customer service to the Volkswagen, Audi and commercial vehicles dealer networks in South Africa,” Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkom said in a statement this week.

The 26 000 square metre facility will be fully operational before the end of 2010.

“The investment [in the distribution centre], together with the best in class systems and processes and a major upskilling of the two hundred people employed at the centre, will enable a world class parts and accessories operation for the Volkswagen Group South Africa,” Winterkom said.

Further new developments

Volkswagen will also begin work on a R60-million dealer training academy on the site adjoining the distribution centre in the fourth quarter of 2010, in an effort to improve the company’s capabilities at the customer retail level.

Winterkom said the company would launch its BlueMotion environmentally friendly technology – available in the Polo, Golf, Tiguan and new Tuareg ranges – by the fourth quarter of the year.

In addition, the local arm of the manufacturer plans to introduce its new one ton Amarok pickup truck to the local market in the same period.

“We anticipate the new Amarok will cause a major stir in the highly competitive one ton pickup market in South Africa,” Winterkom said. “The new Amarok will be a class leader in terms of emissions and fuel efficiency.”

Remaining committed

Next year will mark 60 years of manufacturing Volkswagens in South Africa, and the plant in Uitenhage has to date rolled out 2.7-million vehicles for both the South African market and for exports. Winterkom said the group’s commitment to the country had never been stronger.

“We are proud of what we have achieved in South Africa, and the fact that next year we will celebrate our 60th anniversary of manufacturing cars in South Africa,” he said. “We remain committed to a country full of opportunity.”

SAinfo reporter

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