At the end of August 1951, a Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the production line in Uitenhage. It was the very first VW assembled in South Africa.
A few years earlier, the Uitenhage manufacturing plant, which was founded in 1946 as South African Motor Assemblers and Distributors (SAMAD), assembled around 12 Studebakers a day.
Now, some 65 years later, the factory in the Eastern Cape has grown to a daily capacity of some 600 units, for both local and international markets. And in those 65 years, Volkswagen SA says some 3,4 million vehicles have been built.
Indeed, two of the most popular passenger cars on the local market – the Volkswagen Polo and Polo Vivo – are currently produced at the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage. And on October 22 last year, a Cross Polo destined for a customer in Austria became the 500 000th Polo to be manufactured at the Uitenhage plant.
"Our company vision is to provide sustainable mobility for Africa with German engineering and a South African heart," said Thomas Schaefer, chairman and managing director of Volkswagen Group SA.
"At the centre of this company is and always will be the exceptional people who build and sell our vehicles. Without them we would not have made it to where we are today, 65 years later," he added.