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2010-06-17 11:26

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Trade and Industry Minister Robert Davies were on hand to open the new 26 000 square meter P&A Distribution Centre in Centurion.

Volkswagen AG has opened a new R230-million* Distribution Centre in Centurion, near Pretoria, while BlueMotion technology comes to local cars from October this year.

South Africa features prominently in the Volkswagen Group’s Strategy 2018 and the German carmaker has already invested about R5 billion* over the past four years, it said, in preparing to meet its target.

“We want to make Volkswagen the world’s leading automaker in economic and ecological terms by 2018. And the Uitenhage plant plays an important role in this context,” Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said in Centurion on Thursday.

Large-scale investment was already spent modernising and expanding the facilities at the Uitenhage plant to accommodate the production of new Polo and CrossPolo for local and export markets, and the new Polo Vivo. Production at the Eastern Cape facility is set to double this year to 120 000 units.

"In the fast lane"

“We have created 1 000 new jobs over the last 12 months, started production of the new Polo and significantly expanded local content. Volkswagen remains in the fast lane in South Africa,” Winterkorn added.

According to the latest delivery figures quoted by Volkswagen, 29 350 vehicles were sold during the period January to May in South Africa, an increase of 34.8% compared with the corresponding period in 2009. The overall passenger car market grew by 28.3% in this period, the carmaker said, while its market share increased from 20.1% to 21.0%.

“Volkswagen is the market leader on South Africa’s passenger car market. Our existing investment, coupled with the new measures, lays the foundation for staying on our growth path,” Winterkorn said.

He also used the opportunity to announce additional developments for the Uitenhage plant.

“In addition to the R5 billion invested over the past four years, I’m pleased to announce plans to invest a further R500 million in a new press shop at our plant in Uitenhage. This substantial investment will enable further local content gains and improvements to overall competitiveness. Construction will commence quarter four 2010 and the new press shop will be fully operational mid-2012,” Winterkorn added.

Future product plans include the imminent launch of the Amarok one-tonner, as well as BlueMotion technology, which promises cuts in emissions and fuel consumption, that will be introduced in South Africa from October this year. BlueMotion will initially be available for Polo, Golf, Tiguan and new Touareg models.

*News Ed's notes: Update adds figures in Rands, new Uitenhage press shop detail
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