WINDHOEK - Work has already commenced on the much-anticipated N$190 million Peugeot assembly plant in Walvis Bay and a spokesperson from the French car manufacturer has confirmed the plant should be ready by the end of 2018 when vehicles will be expected to roll off the assembly lines.
When the deal for the assembly plant was announced earlier this year it was revealed that Peugeot would invest N$50 million while the remaining N$140 million includes the valuation of the land as the physical infrastructure that is being provided by the government. Namibia will through the Development Corporation hold 51 percent equity, with Groupe PSA, the French vehicle manufacturer, holding the other 49 percent.
“Work commenced some weeks ago. The preparation of the building and of the assembly line structure is ongoing and tooling orders are in place. Recruitment of employees is ongoing. Some have already joined and are currently being trained,” said Sharon Garson, a spokesperson from Peugeot Citroen South Africa.
Responding to questions from New Era, Garson said when the assembly process commences at the end of 2018, the plant will work towards building an annual targeted volume of 5,000 units by 2020. Groupe PSA has revealed that it has ambitions to expand into African and Middle Eastern markets where it aims to sell a million vehicles by 2025.
“The Peugeot 3008 and Opel Grandland X will be the first vehicles to be produced at this plant. Other products will follow later to meet customer demand in SACU (Southern African Customs Union) countries,” said Garson. Once the vehicles have been assembled in Namibia, the joint venture between Groupe PSA and the Namibian government will export these to Peugeot Citroën South Africa and Opel South Africa, respectively, as they are responsible for the distribution of Peugeot-branded and Opel-branded vehicles in the SACU region.
When the significant deal was announced earlier this year, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Dr Michael Humavindu, said about 50 direct jobs would be created for Namibians while the project also holds the potential to create indirect employment estimated at 200 people. “The Namibia Ports Authority is also keen on lending assistance regarding the project as it stands to benefit a lot from it,” Humavindu noted. Peugeot’s Garson added that the number of jobs is expected to grow as the production reaches full capacity.
Meanwhile, Groupe PSA’s executive vice president for the Middle East and the Africa region, Jean-Christophe Quemard, said during an earlier interview that Peugeot’s investment is part of a long-term strategy to increase sales in Africa and the Middle East. “This is consistent with our target to sell one million vehicles in 2025. This new capacity will serve regional markets with products in line with our Opel and Peugeot customer expectation,” he added.