Volkswagen South Africa completed its major investment programme and has launched the new Polo on Friday at their Uitenhage plant. In 2015 VWSA announced that they would invest R4.5 billion in new product and facilities. But the investment was eventually much more – amounting to R6.1 billion.
With an additional shift to meet the requirements of making the new Polo, exporting is expected to peak.
In 2018 marks 72 years of having the VW plant in Uitenhage, thus far over three million cars have come out of the factory and at a time where the economy is sluggish, further investment and commitment is being made by the company.
The upgrades to the facility have gone hand in hand with a number of employees being trained.
The new Polo will see an additional shift which will create 300 new jobs by April.
VWSA chairperson Thomas Schaefer says: “We have been training people in 2017, we have gone through a massive amount of intervention.”
In 2017 over a 110 000 cars were manufactured. With the new model, the factory seeks to produce over 160 000 – pushing up exports.
Currently the factory employs 3800 employees, working with 1500 suppliers.
And with the new Polo, Volkswagen seeks to work with more local companies as the new VW models are 60% local content.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bulelani Maganishe says: “If you look at indirect employment it has contributed about 50 000 jobs around the region, so it’s important, assisting in the transformation of the economy.”
Going forward, all vehicles will be assembled on one line, giving the factory more flexibility.