Johannesburg - General Motors (GM) began production of the Hummer H3 at its Struandale assembly facility in Port Elizabeth.
The Hummer H3 will soon be available in South Africa.
"The occasion represents an important step in the global expansion of Hummer by providing increased capacity and a global version of the H3 for markets outside North America," GM said in a statement.
President of GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East Maureen Kempston Darkes said: "The GM team in South Africa has demonstrated to the world that they have the people, the leadership, the technology and the skills to execute the type of automobile engineering and assembly that is required in the new global economy."
GM added that Hummer H3 vehicles built in South Africa would be exported to markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It noted that production of a right-hand drive version would begin in the second quarter of 2007 for export into right-hand markets in Europe and Asia, as well as for local sale in South Africa.
Last year the group announced a US$100 million investment in its South African operations to fast track the production of the first batch of the autos. The investment included the expansion of the Struandale plant in the Eastern Cape.
Until recently, Hummer had primarily focused its attention on establishing a strong presence in North America.
GM acquired the brand in late 1999 and since then, Hummer has grown from a brand selling roughly 1 000 vehicles per year in 2000, to more than 60 000 in 2005. The sale of the vehicles nearly doubled globally in 2005, paced by the launch of the midsize H3. While much of this growth was in the United States, Hummer also saw significant expansion in other countries around the globe.
The Hummer H1 and H2 models - adapted from the Humvee vehicle developed for military use - have been sold primarily in the US and Canada.
Wheels24 will be attending the Hummer 3 launch in Port Elizabeth. We'll be bringing you our FIRST impression later this week.