Toyota Motor Corporation’s acquisition of a majority stake in Toyota SA could prompt other Japanese manufacturers to invest in South Africa soon, says Naamsa president Ian Robertson.

Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC) acquisition of a majority stake in Toyota SA could prompt other Japanese manufacturers to invest in South Africa soon, says Naamsa president Ian Robertson.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa president and BMW SA boss Ian Robertson told at the weekend that Japanese component makers were also bound to set up shop locally as a result of TMC's investment.

CARtoday.com reported last year that TMC had upped its stake in the local manufacturer to 75 per cent. This represented the first real investment by a Japanese manufacturer in South Africa, said Robertson.

Robertson pointed to Nissan's investment in production facilities in Britain in the mid Eighties, which was followed by Honda and then Toyota over about eight years. "Together, these Japanese vehicle manufacturers added about a million units of new capacity in the UK," said Robertson.

Honda, for example, was likely to look at opportunities in South Africa, said Robertson. Honda was previously part of the DaimlerChrysler SA until a new agreement was reached between the German-American company and Mitsubishi. Honda could now look at new ways to involve itself in the SA market, he added.

It would also be beneficial for Japanese component makers to establish manufacturing operations in South Africa, Robertson suggested.

“They could supply Toyota SA, and export from South Africa, which had a favourable base for exports, particularly through government's motor industry development plan which rewarded local manufacture and exports,” he was quoted as saying.