Despite political unrest and uncertainty about land ownership going forward, South Africa continues to attract foreign investors.
Last year Isuzu Trucks took over General Motors South Africa’s plant and more recent Mahindra introduced its all-new assembly facility in Durban.
This month Mercedes-Benz cars announced a 600 million euro (R10 billion) investment in its plant in East London. This famed plant will produce the next-generation C-Class.
The upgrades to the plant include a new paint shop and body shop, as well as an upgrade of the assembly shop and new logistic warehouses.
Overall the new buildings comprise an area of approximately 100.000 sqm, this reflects an addition of two thirds of the already existing buildings for the passenger vehicle production. The new workshops will incorporate environmental friendly and state of the art technologies.
“With the investment of 600 Million Euro we are significantly expanding our plant in East London and equipping it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of the C-Class built in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz South Africa. The investment is also a sign of our commitment to South Africa and efforts to revive economic growth as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region,” stated Markus Schäfer.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was also in attendance and stated that, “a central priority for government this year has been to encourage significant new investment in our economy, necessary to realise economic growth, employment and reduce inequality. The announcement by Mercedes-Benz Cars to inject R10 billion in the South African economy signals to the positive momentum we are making to realise the ambitious target of raising R1.2 trillion in new investment. This investment by Mercedes-Benz Cars endorses South Africa as a favourable destination for investment; and correspondingly, demonstrates our determination to work with all social partners to seize the opportunities that are opening up for greater investment and faster growth.”
This significant investment will also reduce Mercedes’ environmental footprint in the region. By making use of new methods, the new paint shop will be more energy efficient and more environmental friendly. Overall, the energy consumption per produced vehicle will be further reduced with 25%.