By Khulekani Dumisa
President Ramphosa joined Toyota SA at its manufacturing plant in Durban on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the all-new Corolla Cross production line in Prospecton, KwaZulu-Natal. He was accompanied by a delegation of public officials, including the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel, KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikala, and eThekwini Metro Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda.
Local manufacturing giant
Established some 60 years ago, Toyota in South Africa has grown significantly over the years and now manufactures Hilux, Fortuner, Corolla Quest and Hi-ace at its Prospecton Plant, while selected Hino and Dyna models are produced as SKD or semi-knocked-down assemblies. TSAM’s newest production line further reaffirms the company’s investment commitment to the South African economy and the local automotive sector.
In his remarks, President and CEO of TSAM Andrew Kirby noted: “If you tally up the investments we’ve made in this plant spanning the last five years – of which Corolla Cross accounts for R2.6 billion, we arrive at a cumulative figure of over R6.5 billion. So, we are therefore committed to further developing and strengthening our business in South Africa and making a difference in the country, our communities, our suppliers, dealers, customers and of course in own employee’s lives.”
Jobs, jobs, jobs…
Being hit by a jobs crisis, it is encouraging to see that the introduction of the Corolla Cross model has generated a total of 575 new jobs at the TSAM plant while over 1,200 direct jobs were created in the component supply base. Another significant focus during the project has been to maximise the local content for this model. This resulted in the localisation of 621 parts with 56 local suppliers – 16 of which are Black-owned. TSAM has also onboarded five new Tier-1 suppliers (all Black-owned) and 12 new Tier-2/3 suppliers. The economic contribution with TSAM’s local suppliers for this project is over R1.4 billion per annum.
To mark the official opening of this significant event for TSAM, President Ramaphosa had initially officiated a ribbon-cutting ceremony – flanked by Andrew Kirby; Imai-san; Nigel Ward; Minister Patel and other regional public officials – before addressing a number of dignitaries and other stakeholders in the automotive industry in the company’s auditorium.
According to President Ramaphosa: “I had called upon Japanese carmakers to strengthen their investment in South Africa. A few months later at the second South Africa Investment Conference, Mr Andrew Kirby came up to stage to announce Toyota’s new investment (R2,6 billion)… I am particularly pleased to see that the announcement that was made has led to the creation of so many jobs – a total of 1,775 jobs made through the announcement of the investment [of the Corolla Cross production].”
Four days to go…
The Corolla Cross is launching locally next week and recently we had the rare opportunity of seeing it ahead of launch. You can see our video of the preview here.
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