VWSA to invest R2,1bn in Uitenhage plant

Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) will invest R2,1-billion in infrastructure, improving facilities and upgrading its products at its Uitenhage plant outside Port Elizabeth over the next six years, the carmaker said on Tuesday.

The self-funded investment was a vote of confidence in South Africa and would enable the company to offer further exciting products in the years ahead, Volkswagen South Africa Managing Director Hans-Christian Maergner said in a statement.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG of Germany, continued to enjoy the support of its German shareholders because it had reached its export targets and made budgeted profits.

”By doing so, it has enabled us to secure jobs at our Uitenhage facility and give an additional boost to the country’s economy through our value-adding exports and foreign exchange earnings,” Maergner said.

In 2002, Volkswagen was one of the largest car manufacturers on the African continent, building 77 000 vehicles for the South African and overseas markets — including 30 000 Golf 4s for export to Europe and the United Kingdom.

By September, the total number of Golf 4s that VWSA had exported to Europe and the UK since the model was introduced had reached 125 000.

”We expect that we will continue — or even slightly increase — our number of fully built up exports in the coming months,” Maergner said.

”Despite the current slump in global demand, we will be expanding the countries that we export to and (we) will commence delivering new Polos in addition to the Golfs we currently export.”

VWSA held 22% of the local car market and intended to retain this in 2003 despite increasing competition and a further decline in sales volumes, he said. – Sapa

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