10 October 2013
BMW has no plans to leave South Africa, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Thursday morning ahead of a scheduled meeting with the German car manufacturer later in the day.
Speaking to journalists in Pretoria, Davies said he had met a BMW delegation during the recent strike by workers in the country’s automotive sector, and that the company had said that it remained committed to South Africa.
On recent reports in the media speculating on the company’s future in the country, Davies said he had received a letter from BMW “in which they clarified what they had said, and which they were concerned wasn’t necessary correctly reported.
“What they said is that they are continuing operations in South Africa – there is no question of them discontinuing their operations in South Africa.
“They did say they have the possibility of competing for an additional model in the South African operations, and they felt that that was jeopardised by the recent strikes,” Davies said.
However, he said the signing of a three-year wage agreement, following the conclusion of the motor industry strike last week, would bring stability to the sector.
Commenting on French auto manufacturer Renault’s announcement that it will be opening a facility in Nigeria, Davies said he had recently spoken with his Nigerian counterpart on co-operating with the west African country to develop a vehicle manufacturing industry there, with the expectation that South African auto parts manufacturers would be able to get involved.