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Locally built heroes: 5 of SA's best car export success stories

2017-09-26 08:04

Image: Ford.

Lance Branquinho

Johnnesburg - Locally made, for the world. We list five South African car export success stories. 

Despite our isolated location, South Africa’s automotive industry manufacturers at such international standards of quality, that local built vehicles account for a notable amount of export revenue.

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The biggest exporters are BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota and VW. Having established excellent industrial engineering principles at their factories in Rosslyn, East London, Durban and Uitenhage.

These five brands earn valuable foreign exchange for the country and assist in curbing unemployment with manufacturing jobs. 

Mercedes C-Class - 73 098


Most of the world’s RHD production for C-Class is shipped from the banks of the Buffalo river, built by South Africans in the sophisticated Mercedes-Benz East London factory. A great many cars, all built to the very highest German industrial standards. By us. 


VW Polo - 48 845


Half an hour from the breakwater of Port Elizabeth is Uitenhage and VW’s massively modernised production facility. It will always be celebrated as the evergreen production location for Golf 1 into the new millennium, but nowadays VW’s export trade are Polos, especially the Cross version. 


Ford Ranger - 30 071


The bakkie which forced Toyota to up its offering with Hilux has followed the Japanese brand into the export market too. Rangers assembled at Ford’s Silverton plant, powered by engines manufactured in Port Elizabeth, are unique in being the work of two local production sites owned and operated by a single manufacturer: Ford. So successful is the Ranger export program that its numbers often dwarf those of Rangers set aside for local demand.


BMW - 29 199


Mirroring its German rival’s coastal success in East London, BMW produces 3 Series in Rosslyn, an industrial zone bordering the capital city. The history of 3 Series production is entrenched with BMW’s local presence, having started in the early 1990s, with exports originally initiating to Australia, after the arrival of universal franchise political rights in 1994. 


Toyota Hilux - 26 125


South Africans know bakkies better than anyone and as such, it’s not much of a surprise to find that Toyota exports a fair volume of those Hilux units it produces in Prospecton, through the port of Durban, to various global markets. Built to last, and gets the job done, with the kind of committed quality that South Africans demand, for the benefit of global Hilux owners. 



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