VWSA has started exporting the Golf 5 to Australia and key Asian markets. The contract should total more than R25 billion over the new car’s five-year lifespan.

VWSA has started exporting the Golf 5 to Australia and key Asian markets. The contract should total more than R25 billion over the new car’s five-year lifespan.

“About 2 300 new Golfs will be exported each month and over 15 000 vehicles will be sent overseas this year. The main markets are Japan and Australia, while vehicles will also be shipped to New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia,” VWSA managing director Andreas Tostmann said on Wednesday.

“The new Golf order, coupled with the more than 13 000 Polos and 2 000 Golf 4s Volkswagen of SA will also ship to the region this year, fulfils the company’s target of exporting more than 30 000 vehicles per annum,” Tostmann continued.

The Uitenhage plant is the only factory outside of Europe to manufacture and export the new Golf to right-hand drive markets. To accomplish the task, VWSA has invested R750-million in the upgrading of the plant’s facilities and employed approximately 900 workers on the line.

The MIDP and the stable rand were highlighted as factors contributing towards the plant securing the contract.

"The rand will always have an effect on export programmes,” Tostmann said. "But the most important thing is not the strength or the weakness of the rand, but a stable currency. The strong rand has had an impact on our exports but its something we can handle.

The first shipment arrived in Japan about two weeks ago and the company hopes to export more than 40 000 units by the end of 2005.

And while no Jetta 5 production details have been made available yet, Tostmann said the possible exporting of the saloons would be considered once the plans were announced.

In March this year, VWSA secured the contract to export TDI engines to the Hannover plant in Germany for use in the production of the LT panel vans. Over six years, the contract should be worth more than R12-billion.

Currently, the company’s total exports, including components, are worth R8-billion per annum.