13 March 2012
General Motors South Africa (GMSA) began exporting Isuzu KB pick-ups to Kenya on the weekend, and is looking to further expand its exports of the locally assembled light commercial vehicles – both right- and left-hand drive – into key sub-Saharan Africa markets.
GMSA already exports the popular pick-up, assembled at the company’s Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth, to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mauritius – all right-hand drive markets.
Both right- and left-hand drive
GMSA exports manager and East Africa MD Rita Kavashe told Engineering News, however, that when the company begins production of the sixth-generation Isuzu KB in the first half of 2013, this would be the first time that the vehicle is built in South Africa in both right- and left-hand drive.
“This will open up new opportunities for us to export the Isuzu KB beyond our existing markets to rapidly growing countries like Angola and Nigeria,” Kavashe said.
“With all the development happening in sub-Saharan Africa as countries improve road infrastructure, agriculture and invest in the construction of new buildings, there is an opportunity to sell our tough commercial vehicles in these markets.”
According to Business Report, GMSA is currently investing R1-billion in three new vehicle assembly programmes – for the Chevrolet Utility, which began production at the end of 2012, the new Chevrolet Spark, due later this month, and the new-generation Isuzu KB.
Engineering News notes that increased export volumes will help the company reach the incentive threshold – of 50 000 units a year – under the government’s new Automotive Production and Development Plan, which comes into effect in 2013.