Volkswagen Group South Africa is making inroads into its ambitious regionalisation strategy through the establishment of its new sub-Saharan region, where it aims to play a leading role in developing the automotive industry in a region which encompasses 49 countries with a combined population of around 920 million people.
Considered a blank spot on the German carmaker’s global vehicle production and distribution map, the plan to significantly expand and ultimately entrench the company’s footprint in the vast region will be driven by VWSA chairman and managing director Thomas Schäfer.
Outside of its home European market, Volkswagen now considers the new sub-Saharan Africa region as the latest addition to its quartet of regional markets which also include North America, South America and China.
Next logical step
Schäfer said the development of the sub-Saharan region was the next logical step in Volkswagen brand’s strategy to position itself in focus areas.
“Africa is still one of the blank spots on the Volkswagen map. There is, however, enormous potential in the region to meet the mobility needs of a burgeoning middle class,” he said.
“We will drive forward the development of these new markets in cooperation with African governments and gradually strengthen and expand the new sub-Saharan Africa region.”
VW began building cars in South Africa during 1951, started vehicle assembly in Nigeria in 2015 and launched an assembly operation in Kenya late last year.
Undeveloped, almost non-existent automotive industry
With a largely undeveloped, and in some areas almost non-existent automotive industry in the sub-Saharan region, VW is in the process of developing innovative concepts and programmes to establish and increase its footprint in these areas.
The company is investigating its involvement in mobility, rather than the traditional methods of establishing dealerships or assembly plants.
“While still very much in the concept stage, Volkswagen plans to launch an integrated mobility concept in Rwanda at the end of this year,” VW communication head, Matt Gennrich, said.
App-based mobility solutions
“The concept provides for app-based mobility solutions such as car sharing and ride-hailing.
“For this purpose, an environmentally compatible vehicle production facility is to be established in the capital city Kigali, to cover vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept.”
Gennrich said the concept would be introduced into Rwanda’s population of around 11 million people who would be able to use the Uber-type app to secure transport on the basis of a taxi service or the very short-term use of vehicles.
“To give you an example of our approach, the vast majority of people in South Africa have never had a telephone landline, they leapfrogged their entry into voice communications straight into cellphones,” he said.
“We are looking at leapfrogging a number of challenges in these markets and going straight into the technology available there, such as app-based mobility solutions.”
Egypt, Toyota Tsusho discuss manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses
CAIRO – 13 October 2019: Egypt and Toyota Tsusho discussed on Sunday how the giant Japanese company can contribute to the government’s plans to manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses.
During his meeting with President and CEO of Toyota Tsusho Mr. Ichiro Kashitani, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli emphasized Egypt’s keenness to best utilize its resources by reducing diesel exports’ expenses and transferring diesel-fueled vehicles to natural gas-powered ones or to bi-fuel vehicles that are capable of running on two fuels (natural gas and gasoline) through offering payment facilities.
Mabdouli further stressed that the transfer process needs to be implemented through manufacturing companies that working on Egypt’s soil, in order to enhance local manufacturing, and transfer expertise, according to a cabinet press statement about the meeting. He also ensured that the government is serious in its plans to implementing the transfer process through providing funding programs and incentives to encourage owners of old microbuses.
These ambitions go the lines with the government’s latest unveiled plan in August, aiming to turn 50,000 vehicles into gas-powered annually.
Mabdouli also stressed the government’s readiness to discuss the details of the implementation of the program and accelerate the process according to a specific schedule.
For their part, Toyota Tsusho delegation presented their proposal of “manufacturing high quality microbuses in a way that will meet the Egyptian government’s converting the fuel-powered vehicles.”
In a previous interview with Business Today Egypt magazine, Toyota Tsusho Kashitani explained his company’s strategy about using diversified fuels, based on the global trend to electrification, while maintaining an environment-friendly technology.
“In order to realize the fuel transfer plan by government, natural gas field development would be necessary to be accelerated and we are ready to support it by expansion of the offshore rig project as referred above,” Kashitani added during the interview.
Messe Frankfurt studies holding international textile exhibition in Egypt
Shirts- CC via Maxpixel/ Sony Ilce-7
CAIRO – 19 May 2019: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH is studying holding an international fair for textile products in Egypt for the first time, announced Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry in a statement on Sunday.
“The exhibition will be an important platform for bringing together exporters and importers from around the world to exchange experiences and views in this field,” the statement read.
The exhibition comes in light of Egypt’s strategic plan to be a trade hub serving the African countries, the ministry said, noting that the country aims to be an international center for all international exhibitions.
Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH Uwe Behm said that the company has been cooperating with Egypt for 100 years, adding that the company aims to hold this big international exhibition due to Egypt’s distinguished and strategic geographic place in Africa and in the Arab World.
Durban Car Terminal handles over half a million fully built units
DURBAN – The Durban Car Terminal broke a South African (SA) record, handling over half a million fully built units (FBU) in the 2018/19 financial year.
Amanda Siyengo, the Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) General Manager for Bulk, Break Bulk and Car Operations said, “A combination of a shift in the operating model, improved planning, dedicated operational teams and collaboration with customers and shipping lines have seen the terminal exceed its annual average of 480 000 FBU”.
This has resulted in the terminal handling 510 936 FBU which comprises of passenger, commercial, static mafi cargo and high and heavy vehicles.
The terminal had undergone an operating model change which entailed taking over the outsourced driving service function so that it was handled internally. Siyengo added that this achievement had not been an easy task, commending terminal management on and improving efficiencies such as units handled per hour with and ship working hours
“Facilitating seamless logistics planning and operational execution for original equipment manufacturers plus collaboration with shipping lines, is very critical in eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring that automotive exports and imports are handled efficiently for the South African economy,” said Siyengo.
The Durban Car Terminal is also focusing on creating more storage capacity to meet the industry demand, driving a high performance culture and being innovative in solutions it provides. Introducing the automated service instruction entry (SIE) to over 100 customers, supply chain partners and various other stakeholders is an initiative that is work in progress however, improves the SARS clearance process from 72 to 24 hours.
There have also been significant investments in the SA automotive sector that supported higher production capacity which led to better than expected export volumes countrywide.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s Automotive Production and Development Plan incentivizing the industry for increasing local content from 38% to 60% ex-factory price, has also played a significant role in increased numbers after its introduction in 2013. SA’s motor industry currently builds about 600 000 vehicles per annum, which is 0.7 percent of the global consumption. The SA government would like to see this grow to about 1 percent in 2035 when the SA Automotive Masterplan expires.
SA, through TPT’s Durban Car Terminal is the single largest car terminal in Africa. They have previously created a web-based, general cargo operating system called GCOS which enhances security of break bulk cargo and automotive, offering simple user interface and greater data integrity compared to the old manual method.
GCOS is a commercial product that some of the West African terminals are already utilizing and one of these is the Port of Cotonou in Benin.
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