KwaZulu-Natal’s investment drive receives a shot in the arm, as Mahindra launches a new semi-knockdown assembly plant within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone. The facility will produce Mahindra’s Pik-Up range of Single and Double-Cab bakkies; when the plant is operating at full capacity the facility will be able to produce 4000 vehicles a year.
During the launch KwaZulu-Natal, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, Mr. Sihle Zikalala welcomed the investment by Mahindra and stated that, “As the provincial government, we are committed to support the expansion of the vehicle manufacturing sector in South Africa. We welcome Mahindra’s decision to establish its world-class assembly facility within Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone and we look forward to supporting their growth as they expand their export reach into the rest of the African continent and widen their local sourcing of parts and components.”
Mahindra’s long-term development strategy is centered on using their facility in Durban to supply new vehicles to the entire African market, the company has committed to sourcing 40% of the components (measured by value) of its Pik Up range from local component suppliers.
Mr. Rajesh Gupta, the CEO of Mahindra South Africa, emphasised that, “The assembly of the Pik Up is a very important step, but it remains only the first step in our long-term plan that will see us increase employment, local sourcing, and content and the complexity of our assembly facility in KwaZulu-Natal.”
He went on to highlight the fact that, “Mahindra has grown significantly since the launch of its first models in South Africa. In the last five years alone, it has grown its market share by a compound annual growth rate of over 4.6% a year, which puts us in league of five fastest growing company in the same period. Much of this growth was achieved in a declining market which indicates our increased acceptance and popularity in South Africa market.”
Mahindra’s Durban semi-knockdown plant is operated in partnership with AIH Logistics, an organisation that has vast automotive manufacturing experience. The 24 local assembly staff complement, 80% of whom were unemployed was trained in partnership between the global Mahindra & Mahindra Group and AIH Logistics “Training and skill development is going to be a special focus area going forward. We believe in the fact that to ensure best of the engineering and quality we will have to keep investing into nurturing highly skilled workforce here at South Africa” says Mr. Dempsy Naidoo Chairman AIH Logistics.