Made in China taxis for SA

History is being made in Springs on the east Rand. Two huge events have taken place in the automotive industry.

The first new light vehicle manufacturer, which is assembling and building vehicles in South Africa – in 40 years!

The other is the news of direct Chinese investment in the South African light vehicle motor industry – for the first time ever.

BAW South Africa is a JV of Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), and China Africa Motors (CAM).

They will be assembling minibus taxis from semi knocked down kits.

R196 million has been invested in BAW South Africa, which will employ 469 people.

John Jessup, head of sales and marketing at BAW South Africa, notes that the establishment of the company is a real automotive milestone for South Africa.

Jessup believes that there will soon be annual taxi replacement demand to the tune of 25 000 units in South Africa alone. “Then there is the sub-Saharan market, which will experience replacement demand in excess of this,” he reports.

BAW South Africa’s Springs factory – with an annual capacity of 9 600 vehicles – will be in its first phase of operations over the next three years. Thereafter, the plan is for BAW SA to move to full CKD manufacturing at far greater capacity levels.

It kind of looks like a HiAce to me. Its model name is Haice.

There are conflicting news reports suggesting that the plans have been halted after opposition from taxi associations.

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