Despite the recent strikes in the automotive and metal industries and threats by manufacturers to pull out of South Africa, Chinese manufacturer FAW has invested around 60 million US dollars in the country and today opened the FAW Coega plant in the Eastern Cape.

The investment by FAW in South Africa is claimed to be one of the most significant because it’s the largest investment made by a Chinese entity in our country. The investment is a collaboration between China FAW Group Corporation, the China-Africa Development Fund (CAD-Fund) and FAW Africa Investment Company LTD.

The Coega plant has a capacity of 5 000 units a year and this makes FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA the first OEM to build its entire range of commercial vehicles in South Africa. Looking to the future, FAW plans to commission a body building facility at the plant and might share it with other commercial vehicle manufacturers.

President Jacob Zuma was in attendance to witness the first FAW commercial vehicle roll off the local line and said the investment “augers well for the future of this partnership between our countries”.

Also in attendance was Minister of Trade and Industries, Dr Rob Davies. Davies stated that “FAW’s decision to build commercial vehicles locally from completely knocked down kits (CKD), the first OEM to do so across its entire range in SA, is a clear indication that government’s plan to extend the Automotive Production Development Plan (APDP) to the commercial vehicle CKD manufacturers, bus manufacturers and local component producers, will attract further expansion in the automotive industry”.

When it comes to the current unrest within the manufacturing industry, Zuma had this to say: “As far as the current strike in the metal industries is concerned, I trust that this will be resolved amicably, without violence, and a resolution will be reached soon. This is in the interest of all of South Africa”.