By Staff Reporter

Hyundai has set up a new commercial vehicle assembly plant in Benoni, Gauteng in South Africa. Production has commenced and the the plant will be fully operational from January 2015. It will initially build Hyundai HD65 and HD72 trucks while the H-100 could enter production at a later date.

Hyundai Truck Plant South Africa (1)All commercial vehicles at the plant will be built from semi knocked down kits and not from completely knocked down kits as is normally seen. The company is not planning to assemble passenger cars from the new plant, at least as on date, as additional space and enhanced investment would be required, but is not ruling out this possibility in the future.

Assembly of commercial vehicles at Hyundai plant in South Africa will see creation of 60 jobs and will have annual capacities of around 6,000 units out of which the H100 Bakkie will account for about 4,200 units. Initial plans are to produce 500-600 delivery vans per month while once this venture proves to be a success, local content will increase. Hyundai Motor Company has sent engineers from South Korea to oversee, train local staff and monitor quality levels at the new plant.

Hyundai Truck Plant South Africa (3)Hyundai has a growing presence in a host of African countries. It is considered as a third in South Africa just behind Volkswagen and Toyota while in Angola, Hyundai is a market leader. The assembly of HD65 and HD72 will allow the company to add further momentum to increase its present 3% market share in medium commercial vehicles.

Most of the commercial vehicles produced at the new Hyundai South African plant will be distributed in South African market though the company is also weighing possibilities to export to markets in the Sub Saharan region. Out of all vehicles assembled in Benoni, 20% will also be exported to countries such as Botswana and Namibia.

Hyundai Automotive South Africa today officially opened a commercial vehicle assembly plant on the East Rand of Gauteng as part of a multi-million rand investment in its Commercial Vehicle division in the local automotive market.

“The opening of this assembly plant forms an ideal platform from which to strengthen our business strategy, both in terms of commercial market growth and sustainability, as well as an increasing commitment and investment in the South African economy,” says Wade Griffin, director of Commercial Vehicles at Hyundai Automotive SA.

The initial aim is to produce 50 units a month, focusing specifically on the Hyundai HD65 and HD72 trucks. At this stage most of the trucks produced in the plant will be distributed in the South African market, but Hyundai Automotive SA is investigating options to export to markets in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa.
Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive SA, says it is important to note that the company’s investment reaches beyond the monetary aspect. “We have already employed over 30 staff, with the vision of increasing this to around 60 people. By creating these initial 30 or so jobs, we are directly improving the lives of more than 230 people.

“However, there are at least an additional 10 people that can gain employment as a result of the development of this plant, if we consider our current service partners. And further job security too, if you include other suppliers in terms of logistics, maintenance, cleaning, security and information technology services.”
Hyundai has brought in a number of trained engineers from Hyundai Motor Company’s Commercial Vehicle division in Korea to assist with the local training and development of staff to ensure that best practices are followed in the assembly process. From here, the Hyundai Training Centre at the head office of Hyundai Automotive SA will be responsible for ongoing training.

“We have already produced the first trucks from the assembly plant. The local production of HD65 and HD72 trucks will give us a lot of momentum to increase our present 3% share in the medium commercial vehicle market,” says Griffin.
“We are obviously at an early stage in the development of the local operation, but we are already examining the expansion of locally produced parts for our assembly line,” says Griffin.

“We chose the premises in Benoni for two reasons: There was an existing infrastructure and suitable buildings and storage areas to run such a plant; and it is situated in the economical hub of South Africa – Gauteng – where there is a big demand for products such as our HD65 and HD72 trucks.”

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-Rushlane