Volkswagen to setup production facility in Kenya

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 09 Sep 2016

Thomas Schäfer, MD of Volkswagen South Africa (left) and HE Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya at the signing of the agreement.

Volkswagen is planning to start a CKD production of the Polo Vivo in Kenya by the end of the year. An agreement to that effect was signed in Nairobi by the Kenyan Government and Thomas Schäfer, managing director of Volkswagen South Africa in the presence of HE Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya.

The project which will be jointly realised with the importer DT Dobie, Volkswagen's third production facility in Africa – alongside the South African factory and a local production facility in Nigeria. It is planned to build up to 5,000 units of the Polo Vivo per year at the plant operated by Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) from 2017.

Commenting at the signing ceremony, Thomas Schäfer said: "We are taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African automobile market and participate in its positive development. This compact model is the best-selling car in the Sub-Saharan region – so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market. With this move, we are strengthening the brand's overall position in Africa and taking an important step towards expanding our commitment in the region."

President Kenyatta said: "The investment by the Volkswagen Group in Kenya is a key milestone in my administration's determined push to grow the manufacturing base and industrialised the nation."

In addition to the production of the Polo Vivo from the end of 2016, the German carmaker is also planning to establish a local training centre to qualify production workers and provide further training. The centre will initially focus on the needs of the Volkswagen production team. Later on, it is planned to provide basic training for young people to learn general industrial skills, thereby increasing employment opportunities in the region in general.

Kenya is one of Africa's emerging markets. The country plays a prominent role among East African nations and with a GDP of some US$ 63 billion, it is one of the strongest economies in the East African Community (EAC). Kenya is also an important transit country for trade throughout East Africa.