The biggest automaker in South Korea, Hyundai Motor, has recently started truck manufacturing at its first assembling facility in South Africa, the continent’s biggest economic power.
The South Korean carmaker gives a huge vote of confidence to the country, plagued in recent years by numerous labor conflicts in various industries, including the automotive business. Last year, a huge strike that affected practically every foreign automaker with production facilities in the country prompted BMW into reconsidering any further investments in South Africa. The new plant has already started producing medium-sized commercial trucks, according to company spokesman Deon Sonnekus.
“This is the first time that Hyundai has set up an assembly plant in South Africa,” Sonnekus said.
The Benoni factory, located in South Africa’s economic hub Gauteng, started truck manufacturing in July, while the formal production launch is only due in September. According to the company, the plant will also begin production of pick-up trucks sometime in 2015. The move to start production here also signals the end of an unofficial internally imposed cap on foreign production – as the automaker struggled to increase quality standards after a production boom during the past decade. South Africa is the continent’s largest automobile producer, mulling a manufacturing base of at least 1.2 million units by 2020.