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Volkswagen factory in Kenya completes African auto manufacturing triangle

Volkswagen factory in Kenya completes African auto manufacturing triangle

22 December 2016 – Kenya has joined South Africa and Nigeria as the only African countries where German mega automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen, operates assembly plants.

Volkswagen has built an assembly facility in Thika near Nairobi where it intends to assemble so-called Complete Knock Down cars in the popular Polo range. The factory was inaugurated officially this week with the Kenyan President, HE Uhuru Kenyatta and the the CEO of the VW brand, Dr Herbert Diess, driving the very first Polo Vivo off the assembly line.

Volkswagen sees the opening of the Kenyan factory as a key step in the development of new opportunity markets.

At the inauguration, Dr Diess underlined Kenya’s key role within the Volkswagen brand’s Africa strategy: “Volkswagen is strengthening the production region of Africa and providing additional impetus for the further regionalization of the brand – as a reliable and responsible partner. This is symbolized by the first Polo Vivo produced – a car from Africa for Africa. Here in Kenya, we will be producing cars that bear comparison with European quality standards. This is why we are opting for training and local skills in automobile production.”

In addition to vehicle production, Volkswagen will be offering Kenyan customers a comprehensive package including a manufacturer’s guarantee as well as a maintenance and service plan. Financing schemes will be developed together with local banks to allow individual mobility and to provide Volkswagen with the impetus it needs for its re-entry to the Kenyan market.

President Kenyatta said: “A few months ago, this was only a dream. Now Volkswagen’s investment in Kenya has become reality. This is further proof of my government’s determination to strengthen the production location of Nairobi and to forge ahead with the industrialization of the nation.”

The joint project implemented together with DT Dobie is Volkswagen’s third production plant in Africa, the other being in South Africa and Nigeria. In the initial phase, annual production of up to 1000 vehicles is planned. In the long term, it will be possible to produce up to 5000 units per year.

For the start of production at Thika, the employees are being trained by Volkswagen Group South Africa. This will ensure that all vehicles have consistent quality levels.

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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.

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