Manufacturing News

BAIC's South Africa car plant to start production near year end

BAIC Motor Corp. plans to start production at its light-vehicle assembly plant in South Africa toward year end, the state-owned Chinese automaker said.

The factory, in Port Elizabeth, began trial production this week, coinciding with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Johannesburg.

The 5 billion yuan ($739 million) plant is a 65-35 joint venture between BAIC and a local state-owned company, Industrial Development Corp. of South Africa.

Initial annual production capacity of 50,000 vehicles will double at a later stage, BAIC said.

The factory will build BAIC’s sedans, crossovers, SUVs and light trucks for South Africa and other African countries.

By increasing sourcing of locally produced parts, the plant will raise local content of its vehicles to 60 percent in five years, according to BAIC.

BAIC has had a presence in South Africa since 2013, when the company opened a small semi-knockdown plant in the town of Springs to build minibuses.

BAIC is headquartered in the Beijing and listed in Hong Kong.

While producing and marketing light vehicles under its own brands, BAIC also runs passenger vehicle joint ventures with Daimler and Hyundai Motor Co.

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