Chinese carmaker ready to take on South Africa

Chinese car manufacturer BAIC plans to claim market share from established global brands, according to a report in the City Press.

The company outlined its plans to take on well-known car companies at a ceremony which celebrated the completion of phase one of its local production facility.

BAIC has invested R11 billion in a manufacturing plant in the Coega special economic zone in Port Elizabeth, where it will produce vehicles for Africa.

Speaking to the City Press, BAIC International chairman Xu Heyi said the carmaker would roll out products aggressively in South Africa, too.

“We have established a very aggressive and sophisticated marketing plan for South Africa,” he said.

“Currently, we have 17 dealerships and expect to increase them to 27 by the end of the year.”

South African partnership

The first BAIC vehicle built in South Africa was unveiled by Chinese president Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.

“This is confirmation of real partnership and cooperation based on solid relations,” said Ramaphosa.

“I am filled with pride, and the whole of Africa is open to us to produce these vehicles and export them.”

Xi Jinping said this investment was made possible by a memorandum of understanding between South Africa and China which was signed in 2015, adding that cooperation between the countries would increase going forward.

The project created 1,500 construction jobs during phase one, along with the delivery of R200-million worth of contracts to local small businesses.

BAIC estimates that it will be able to manufacture around 100,000 vehicles every year from its South African-based manufacturing plant.

Back in China, BAIC recently announced it would stop producing traditional fuel-powered vehicles by the end of July 2018.

The carmaker will then rely on its new energy vehicle (NEV) to increase its share in the Chinese market.

The BAIC NEV is extremely popular, ranking BAIC first among all NEV manufacturers in China – with sales topping 59,000.

Now read: New VW Touareg in South Africa – Prices

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Chinese carmaker ready to take on South Africa