Hummer's H3, a smaller version of the giant US military Humvee, is to be produced in South Africa for world markets, starting from late next year.

Hummer's H3, a smaller version of the giant US military Humvee, is to be produced in South Africa for world markets, starting from late next year.

The tough, go-anywhere off-roader is to be built at GM South Africa's plant at Struandale in Port Elizabeth. The project, an initiative made possible by South Africa's Motor Industry Development Plan (MIDP), is estimated to be worth R18 billion, and will create 450 new jobs. GM will be investing R600 million in the project.

Making the announcement in Port Elizabeth this morning, Maureen Kempston Darkes, CEO of General Motors' LAAM Division (responsible for the company's operations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East) said production would reach 10 000 units a year once the line was fully ramped up. The first units will roll off the line in the final quarter of 2006.

The vehicle, which is to be produced in left- and right-hand drive versions, is destined for major world markets, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. GM South Africa expects to sell 300 units a year locally from 2007.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the larger H2 sells for $55 000 (R330 000) in the US.