- In 2016, Chinese vehicle manufacturer Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) announced an R11 billion investment into a vehicle assembly plant near Port Elizabeth
- The plant is expected to begin production before the end of 2019
BAIC’s R11 billion investment is the single largest investment in South Africa in 40 years. BAIC officially opened its vehicle assembly plant after completing phase 1 of its critical construction and equipment installation milestones in July 2018.
The plant, with a massive footprint of 88 969m2, is located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape. South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation owns 35% of the plant and the BAIC Group owns 65%.
The plant is expected to produce 50 000 vehicles in the first three years of production. After that it plans to increase output to 100 000 vehicles a year. The revenue from these vehicle sales will be obtained through 40% local sales and 60% in exports.
The project has resulted in a number of positives for the South African economy. Local SMMEs have benefited from construction tenders to the value of R44.1 million. Although the parts are being imported from China, BAIC has developed a procurement database for parts from at least 100 local suppliers which they will intensify each year to meet South African requirements.
The plant had employed 1 839 local people by the end of 2018, with an expectation that 120 people would be given permanent employment at the end of 2019. BAIC plans to expand its South African footprint from 17 multi-franchise dealers to 40 by the end of 2019.
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