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New Polo, Polo Vivo production begins: VWSA's R6.1-billion investment locally

2018-01-26 10:07

Image: Wheels24 / Sergio Davids


The sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo has arrived in South Africa. Check out our gallery!

Uitenhage – Volkswagen has launched its new Polo and showcased its R6.1-billion investment at its factory in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.

In August 2015, VWSA Chairman and Managing Director, Thomas Schaefer announced an investment of about R4.5-billion in new product and facilities. The total investment has exceeded R6.1-billion, partially due to exchange rate fluctuations and the approval of additional plant investments.

The majority of the investment spend was on production facilities, local tooling, quality assurance and manufacturing equipment as well as Information Technology upgrades.

READ: Volkswagen launches all-new Polo in SA - All you need to know

Localisation remains a key priority for VWSA, with the new models at a 60% local content level, with on-going plans to achieve higher levels.

More locally-produced VWs

VWSA produced 110 000 cars in 2017 and says this will increase to 133 000 this year, of which 83 000 will be exported to markets around the world. This will include not only right hand drive markets but also to some left hand drive markets, especially for the Polo GTI. Maximum annual plant capacity is expected to be reached with a 3 shift operation of some 160 000 vehicles, in 2019.

Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, said: "The South African Government must be complimented, firstly for the introduction of the MIDP, which gave confidence to the industry and provided a stable base for the successor programme; the APDP which has also been successful in ensuring a future for the automotive sector in South Africa.

The Automotive Sector of the South African economy accounts for approximately 7.4% of the GDP and accounts for the direct employment of 113 000 people. I am convinced that the next phase of the APDP will continue in the same vein and allow for continued automotive investment."

Market report

The Volkswagen Group retained its number one position in the passenger market for the 7th consecutive year in 2017, achieving a 21.8% market share. One in every 5 cars bought by South Africans last year is either a Volkswagen or an Audi. The Volkswagen brand in the run-out year, of its volume models, the Polo and Polo Vivo achieved a share of 18.9% meaning that the Volkswagen Brand was the passenger market leader, even without its sister brand Audi.

The Polo Vivo and Polo have also been ranked the best selling cars in South Africa since launch in 2010. That is for 7 consecutive years. They are being replaced by the new Polo launched at the event and the new Polo Vivo which will be launched next month. 

"No doubt these will fare even better in the market in 2018 which we see increasing slightly too some 375 000 passenger cars from the 368 000 in 2017," commented Schaefer.

One-Line concept

Volkswagen introduces the innovative One-line Concept for the first time as part of the investment; traditionally vehicles are assembled on unique production lines. It has always been possible to build derivatives of the same platform on one line, but to build two completely different platforms on one line is a technical challenge, highly complex and requires new thinking and training for the employees.

The introduction of the one line concept also includes a new integrated logistics concept. Whilst there are no short term financial benefits there are synergies and efficiencies as well as people benefits that come about as the result of the one line concept.

The automaker says: "Volkswagen is the only vehicle manufacturer which has the words “car” and 'people' in its name. This remains relevant and true today. In line with being a socially responsible employer VWSA did not release any employees as the production volumes decreased during the ramp up, but rather retained them in training pools until the third shift commences in April, this year."

Read more on:    vw  |  volkswagen  |  south africa  |  polo vivo  |  polo  |  new models

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