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Volkswagen Announces $210 Million Investment in South African Plant for New SUV Production

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louis Buyisiwe

Apr 16, 2024

The investment will be channeled into upgrading the Kariega plant's facilities

The new SUV is being developed by Volkswagen Brazil with significant input from Volkswagen Group Africa’s engineering team to ensure it meets the specific needs of local and continental markets, including adaptations for right-hand driving. Although the name of the new SUV has not been disclosed, it joins the Polo and Polo Vivo models currently manufactured at the Kariega plant.
Volkswagen to make more SUVs in South African

Eastern Cape, South Africa – Volkswagen has unveiled plans for a significant investment of 4 billion rand ($210.67 million) into its manufacturing facility located in the Eastern Cape, aiming to start production of a new SUV model by 2027. This development underscores South Africa's role as a leading automotive manufacturing hub in Africa, which is home to global giants like Toyota, Isuzu, Mercedes, and Volkswagen itself.


The investment will be channeled into upgrading the Kariega plant's facilities, preparing it for the addition of a third vehicle model to its production line. This upgrade will initiate during a planned plant shutdown at the end of 2024, signaling the first phase of the project.

Martina Biene, Chairperson and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group Africa, commented on the strategic focus of the investment, highlighting the continued relevance of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in African markets.

"While the global auto industry shifts towards electric vehicles, there is still robust demand for ICE vehicles in Africa due to slower electric vehicle adoption rates," Biene explained.

This investment contrasts with trends in the European Union and the U.S., where there is a strong push towards phasing out CO2-emitting vehicles and boosting electric vehicle sales to as much as 35% by 2035.


The new SUV is being developed by Volkswagen Brazil with significant input from Volkswagen Group Africa’s engineering team to ensure it meets the specific needs of local and continental markets, including adaptations for right-hand driving. Although the name of the new SUV has not been disclosed, it joins the Polo and Polo Vivo models currently manufactured at the Kariega plant.


Further diversifying its African operations, Volkswagen will also introduce the ID.4 test fleet in South Africa and Rwanda as part of its broader strategy to explore electric mobility in the region.

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