Ford, U.S. Based Car Company Eyes Africa For Expansion

With an ever growing consumer and middle class, people throughout Africa are earning more spending power and love for brand products. Ford seeing the huge market potential, is increasing its investment and presence in Africa. Africa is the last untapped big market for major corporations and Ford has announced 17 new vehicles designed for sub-Saharan Africa. The models, all to be introduced by 2016, draw on Ford’s car heritage and global vehicle architectures deigned for the African consumer in mind.

“Middle East and Africa is the final frontier for global automotive growth,” said Ford’s regional chief Jim Benintende. According to Ford’s projections, car sales are expected to grow by 40% in the coming decade in the region. Ford isn’t the only car manufacturer looking to expand in Africa. PSA Peugeot Citroen, which is French based, reopened closed planet in Nigeria. Chinese brands are also increasing their presence . GM, Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz have all over the years paid more attention, increased investment in Africa, after seeing all it’s potential. Ford is making sure that they aren’t left in the slow lane trying to catch up with the competition.

Toyota opens assembly plant in South Africa

Toyota has opened a taxi manufacturing plant in Durban, South Africa.

Toyota South Africa has opened the R70-million Toyota Ses’fikile minibus taxi assembly line at its manufacturing plant at Prospecton in Durban, creating 300 new jobs, and the government is keen for other manufacturers to follow suit.

The plant has begun semi knockdown (SKD) production of the popular 16-seater Quantum Ses’fikile, which has one seat more than the imported 15-seater variant.

Ninety new jobs were created in the assembly line’s start-up phase, as well as 210 new positions in up- and downstream suppliers and service providers support the line.

The Ses’fikile joins Toyota South Africa’s local production of the Hilux, Fortuner and Corolla model ranges, which are locallty manufactured, and its entire range of Hino trucks, which are locally assembled, strengthening the company’s position as South Africa’s largest vehicle manufacturer and exporter.

Toyota’s made-in-South Africa models are currently exported to 57 countries, and the Ses’fikile and Hino-ranges are exported to neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

Once the first phase of localisation has been completed, Toyota will have the ability to deliver up to 15 000 Ses’fikile units to the southern African market. Initial production volumes are estimated at 10 000 units.

Good increased manufacturing capacity for South Africa with the addition of the plant.  Further cementing a manufacturing base in South Africa, which is Africa’s leader. Past few years manufacturing  capacity has grown in South Africa. Past few years Mercedes-Benz opened a plant in East London. With such investments, the South African manufacturing sector, especially in cars and trucks is on a fast track for long term success.

Johannesburg International Motor Show 2011

Johannesburg recently held its annual motor show. The show (also popularly known as the Joburg Motor Show) is the single largest international automotive event in Southern Africa.  The exhibition (held once every two years) runs in conjunction with two additional shows ‘Auto Shop’ and the ‘Johannesburg Truck Show’ which collectively offer a complete representation of the motor industry, serving Sub Saharan Africa and South Africa as host country. This event takes place at the MTN Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, Johannesburg, and is a comprehensive automotive lifestyle show case.

Here is a video promo of the event

The African car industry is poised for growth as more people move up the social economic class.  The new consumers throughout the continent are a bright spot for car companies such as Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Ford and General Motors.

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Nissan to launch electric car the Leaf in South Africa

The Nissan Leaf

Nissan will launch its only electric environmentally friendly car in 2013 for South Africa.  South Africa will become the first African nation to have the leaf on its roads.

Nissan is planning to launch its entirely electric car Nissan Leaf in South Africa in 2013.

The current World and European Car of the Year is on show at the Johannesburg International Motor Show and according to SA Managing Director Mike Whitfield will be brought to South Africa ‘as soon as government policies allow’.

The Nissan Leaf, released in 2010, is available to buy in countries keen to embrace eco-friendly vehicles and reduce their carbon footprint across Europe, Japan and the US and has sold more than 12,000 units so far.

Nissan has been in talks with the South African government over a potential launch within the next couple of years if the market is deemed ready.

“I am delighted to announce that we are intending to bring the Nissan Leaf to South Africa in 2013, subject to confirmation of government policy on charging infrastructure and customer incentives,” said Whitfield.

“This very special car is the world’s first mass-market EV, and has already brought affordable, practical and enjoyable zero-emission mobility to thousands of people.”

Expect more car brands to follow suit as more growth is expected to come from African nations, which have younger demographics and growing consumers with more disposable income to spend. Here is some background information about the Leaf from Nissan’s Director of Product Planning and Advanced Technology Strategy, Mark Perry.

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Mercedes-Benz to invest $290 million in South Africa

Germany’s Mercedes-Benz plans to invest and open manufacturing plant in South Africa to tap growing African market.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), a unit of Daimler AG DAIGn.DE, plans to invest 2 billion rand ($290 million) to produce the next generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class models to be introduced to global markets in 2014.

The German automaker said in a statement on Tuesday the investment would be used to expand the technical capacity of its South African plant in East London to 65,000 units.

“Daimler AG is delighted to include South Africa among the four manufacturing locations around the world to build the next-generation C-Class,” said Wolfgang Bernhard, a member of Daimler AG’s board of management.

The new models will be built at Mercedes-Benz’s plant in East London, and will also be produced in China, Germany and the United States.

Daimler AG has invested more than 5 billion rand in South Africa over the past 10 years.

“In the first quarter of next year, we should reach the half-a-million mark of C-Class vehicles produced locally since 1994, which marked the model’s start of production in South Africa,” Hansgeorg Niefer, CEO of MBSA, said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz said the investment was a vote of confidence in the local operations.

In September, General Motors (GM) GM.UL said it planned to invest 1 billion rand in South Africa over the next two years as it builds up its export business in sub-Saharan Africa.

This new investment comes on the heels of General Motors restructuring its African operations to solidify its position on the continent.  The more competition, the better for Africa in the long run, especially from global brands like General Motors and  Mercedes-Benz.

Tata Motor sets sights on Africa.

At the recent Geneva Auto Show Tata motors state their deepening view on the African car market.

The Tata booth at the International Motor Show in Geneva stands out, and that’s quite an accomplishment given it’s sitting next to the high-shine polish of an Aston Martin and the leggy models posing alongside Lamborghini’s station.

The Tata Nano EV car is displayed at the Geneva Car Show on Tuesday.The Tata booth, like its automotive products, is scaled down. No glitz and no girls. Instead, India’s top vehicle maker by revenue has two cars of note on display: a concept electric Nano and the Aria, a crossover with the frame of a small SUV and the curvature of a Minivan. Neither are necessarily sexy or powerful — or any of the other Geneva Motor Show buzzwords….

“We’re expanding in our 16 markets outside of India,” said Abhay Deshpande, Tata’s deputy general manager, in charge of vehicle integration with the Nano. “The Middle East, Africa and southern Asia are all very strong.” When every other car manufacturer is drooling over the Chinese market, Mr. Deshpande says they’re expanding in Africa instead.

“We’re the number one brand in Ghana and have a strong market in South Africa and Senegal,” Mr. Deshpande said.

Tata also just launched in Nigeria and Tanzania. By focusing on growth outside the traditional markets of Europe, Asia and North America, Tata wants to build brand allegiance in these areas before they become mainstream….

That’s not to say they’re ignoring Europe and the U.S. “The Aria and Nano are good for Europe and I think they will work in America, too,” Mr. Deshpande said.

In the emerging markets, the Nano is priced at around $2,500.

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