VWSA Completes Investment Programme And Launches New Polo

Premier of the Eastern Cape, the Hon. Phumulo Masualle, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, Thomas Schaefer, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, the Hon. Bulelani Magwanishe and MEC for Finance, the Hon. Sakhumzi Somyo.

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Volkswagen launched its new Polo and showcased the R6.1 billion investment in its plant and new products, in the presence of Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle, the honourable Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe of the DTI, media representatives and key stakeholders.

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

The majority of the investment spent was on Capital Expenditure for production facilities, local content tooling, quality assurance and manufacturing equipment as well as Information Technology upgrades. Localization remains a key priority for VWSA, with the new models at a 60% local content level, with ongoing plans to achieve higher levels.

Volkswagen introduces the innovative Oneline 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. VWSA produced 110 000 cars last year, this will increase to 133 000 for 2018 of which 83 000 will be exported to markets around the world. This will include not only right hand drive markets but also 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.

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.

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