Indian automotive giant Mahindra has opened an assembly plant in South Africa, which it expects to become a launchpad to supply its vehicles to the rest of the continent.
The new modular assembly plant, in Durban, will have an annual capacity of 2500 Pik Up trucks which could be increased to assemble up to 4000 vehicles a year and follows strong growth of the Indian brand since it was introduced to South Africa some years ago.
Mahindra, the world’s largest tractor maker by volume, also builds Jaguar and Land-Rover vehicles in India, owns Peugeot motorcycles and myriad other vehicle-related companies.
Its plant in Durban will compete with other brands in South Africa’s export-focused car making industry, which includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ford, VW and Toyota, among others.
The state-of-the-art of facility is equipped with advanced quality testing equipment to ensure its products meet or exceed Mahindra’s strict quality standards.
“The last five years was a wonderful time for us,” chief executive, Rajesh Gupta, said.
“Mahindra has grown significantly since the launch of its first models in South Africa. In the last five years its market share has grown 4.6 per cent a year, which puts us in a league of the five fastest growing companies in the same period.
“Much of this growth was achieved in a declining market, which indicates our increased acceptance and popularity in the South Africa market.”
The company would push to meet government targets of sourcing up to 40 per cent of components from local suppliers.
The new Mahindra Pik Up range was introduced in October 2017 and has since become the company’s single best-selling commercial vehicle.
Pik Ups are available as S2 Single Cab in 4×2 and 4×4 derivatives and S10 Double Cab with the same option of two- or four-wheel drive.
The factory has already started trial production with full production scheduled for July.
Mahindra is also considering introducing tractors into the South African market.
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