TATA, the Indian industrial giant, will begin construction of a vehicle assembly facility in Rosslyn, Pretoria, later this month, South Africa BusinessDay reports. This view was confirmed by the Debasis Ray, the company’s spokesman in Mumbai, India.
South Africa remains the top destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. This was contained in a recent report by Boston Consulting Group. Nigeria is second. The key reason why many people choose South Africa has to do with its larger economy and infrastructure as well as other clusters they can build upon. Also, do not neglect the good universities which continue to rank best in Africa.
“We’re not giving out any details now, but it’s been in the planning for some time to build an assembly plant in SA,” he said.
The announcement comes at a time of increased interest in automotive investments into SA.
Toyota SA confirmed it was negotiating with the government to produce minibus taxis at its Durban plant. Calibra Motor Corporation wants to build a factory in Harrismith to produce taxis .
Mr Ray said Tata would announce details shortly of its new South African plant.
“We’re very excited that it’s got to the point that it’s come to fruition. We’re on the doorstep of a major milestone,” he said
A well-placed government source said yesterday the sod-turning ceremony for the Tata facility was planned for July 22, and that the Rosslyn plant was likely to manufacture a commercial vehicle or bus for the local and African market.
The arrival of a low-cost, locally built competitor could shake up the local car market, and could also potentially create hundreds of jobs in the Rosslyn area.
Tata Motors specialises in manufacturing tough, low-cost commercial vehicles mainly aimed at developing countries. An investment in SA would suggest the company has its eyes on expanding its African market.
The company imports its low-cost Indica hatchback, but its main business in SA is a range of heavy, medium and extra-heavy trucks and commercial vehicles, and buses.
“It’s finally happening,” the government source said yesterday, adding that Tata had made a decision to investigate the possibility of such an operation in SA “at the height of the recession. It was a very difficult time to make such a decision. It’s been in the pipeline for a very long time now.”