The foundational steps for establishing South Africa's newest automotive manufacturing facility have been set, with construction slated to start soon at the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gqeberha, Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape.

Stellantis and South Africa's premier development financier, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), have achieved significant milestones, setting the stage for a Joint Venture (JV). This investment, valued at approximately R3-billion, is poised to generate substantial employment opportunities in the Eastern Cape. The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), which is providing the land for the factory, has initiated site preparations for the construction commencement.

"I am pleased with the progress made in finalising the arrangements with Stellantis, which will allow construction to begin this year, leading to the production of a new vehicle model by the end of 2025. South Africa's automotive industry is the largest on the continent, and this investment by Stellantis will strengthen our position, aiding our goal of producing 1,4-million vehicles by 2035.

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“The primary draws for new investors include the domestic market's size and the auto industry masterplan that supports local production for both South Africa and export markets. Stellantis has a robust growth vision with an impressive range of vehicles globally, and we anticipate this investment will expand the range of locally manufactured cars," says Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.

"The construction of this plant is pivotal to Stellantis's Dare Forward 2030 strategy, which also complements the South African industrialization plan, helping us achieve our target of producing 1-million units in the MEA region by 2030 and attaining a 22% market share in this region. Our long-term goal is to ensure that 90% of vehicles sold in the MEA region come from our local production plants," said Stellantis Middle East Africa (MEA) COO Samir Cherfan.

The Stellantis Greenfield project will be located in the Coega SEZ near Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, South Africa and construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, with a high localisation target at launch (35%) and an ultimate production volume of 50 ,000 units a year, primarily for export. The project will create 1 000 new jobs directly and involve extensive training to develop local teams to global standards.

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In the meanwhile Stellantis was flying high at the annual Nampo Harvest Day show in Bothaville, Free State with a large stand showcasing products from Fiat, Citroën, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Peugeot and Opel.

Citroen C3 front three quarter viewThe new Citroën C3 Aircross, ideal for city and leisure,made its debut at NAMPO, while Fiat’s 500 Dolcevita Cab and Fiorino were presented as efficient options for agricultural economics students and small distribution businesses, respectively with Opel's Zafira Life, Vivaro Panel Van, and Combo Cargo highlighted for their suitability in various agricultural roles.

Within the group in overseas news, Opel has unveiled the new Frontera, a spacious and electrified compact SUV, in Istanbul. Celebrating 125 years of automobile production, Opel's new Frontera, available as a hybrid or fully electric, aims to attract new customers with its flexible and practical features.

The hybrid version combines a petrol turbo engine with an electric motor for lower fuel consumption and emissions, while the battery-electric version offers a range of more than 300 kilometers.

Colin Windell