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Home arrow News arrow Automotive arrow Tata Motors formally opens assembly plant in South Africa at Rosslyn
Tata Motors formally opens assembly plant in South Africa at Rosslyn Print E-mail
Written by Vivek   
Saturday, 23 July 2011
Mumbai: Tata Motors (SA), Tata Motors' joint venture with Tata Africa Holdings, today, formally opened its assembly plant in South Africa at Rosslyn, north of Pretoria, in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Established with an investment of R110 million, the plant can assemble, from semi knocked-down (SKD) kits, light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles ranging from 4 tonnes to 50 tonnes, with an annualised capacity of 3,650 vehicles.

The capacity can be further expanded as required. The plant has been awarded with ISO 9001 accreditation by Bureau Veritas, South Africa. To begin with, it is assembling two models, the Tata LPT 813 and Tata LPT 1518, both already popular in South Africa.

The plant was inaugurated by Rob Davies, South Africa’s minister of trade and industry, in the presence of top dignitaries from South Africa and India. Among them were Noel Tata, managing director, Tata International; Carl-Peter Forster, group CEO and managing director, Tata Motors; Raman Dhawan, managing director, Tata Africa; as well as dealers and key associates of the company.

Built over a period of 18 months, the plant is spread over an area of 34,500 square metres. In line with the latest world-class manufacturing practices, the plant has been equipped with state-of-the-art equipment following lean manufacturing principles. It has built-in flexibilities to assemble large numbers and different variants in mixed mode production, to meet the requirements of the South African market.

The entire capital outlay, encompassing civil and plant engineering work for the facility, has been sourced from and carried out by South African suppliers and companies. In addition, all major equipment, like heavy-duty cranes, inversion mechanisms and paint booth, have also been sourced from South African vendors. The entire workforce of the plant is from South Africa.

Speaking at the event, Mr Davies said that the launch of the plant can be attributed to South Africa’s investment-friendly policies. He said that the project comes at a time when the department is aggressively pursuing an industrial development strategy for the South African medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) sector.

“The key focus area of the M&HCV strategy is based on: support for market development (local and regional), development of OEM production capabilities and the strengthening of the supply chains (first-tier supplier base). Industry role players have and still are part of the extensive consultation process that accompanies the development of such a strategy. This will be an opportunity for further expansion of Tata Motors in South Africa,” added Mr Davies.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Forster said, “With a comprehensive product portfolio, Tata Motors is now at a stage where it can consolidate its international business in its chosen markets. The assembly plant in South Africa is an expression of that resolve. Step by step, we shall expand the footprint of our international business matching markets and products.”

PM Telang, managing director, India operations, Tata Motors, said, “We are very proud to commence assembly operations in South Africa, which has traditionally been among our focus countries. It is integral to Tata Motors' international business presence and plans. The company has already carved a niche for itself in the country and is confident of greater opportunities.”

The training, skill transfer and development of the local workforce is one of the top priorities of the Tata group in South Africa. The Tata group’s training processes and facilities in India have been acknowledged as among the best. Leveraging this expertise through a robust local skill-transfer and apprentice programme, Tata Motors (SA) is committed to ensuring that skill levels of individuals employed in various industrial trades, such as auto mechanic, welder, painter, etc are further enhanced. Tata has an already established state-of-the-art technical training centre in Germiston, Johannesburg, operating since 2006, for skill development of dealer mechanics in South Africa and various other countries in the continent.

Tata Motors started exports to South Africa in 1998, with commercial vehicles. Exports of passenger vehicles began in 2004. Currently there are over 20 commercial vehicle models — from pick-ups  to 49-tonne prime movers and from 14-seater buses to luxury coaches — and five passenger vehicle models — Tata Indica Vista, Tata Indica, Tata Indigo, Tata Indigo SW and Tata Safari in diesel and petrol variants — catering to the needs of the South African market. The company has thus far exported over 32,000 commercial vehicles and 31,000 passenger vehicles to the country. Tata Motors’ vehicles are available across 85 dealerships, through Accordian Investments, the distributor for light commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles, and Tata Automobile Corporation SA, the distributor for medium and heavy commercial vehicles.

The establishment of the plant is a major step towards bolstering the operations and presence of the Tata group in South Africa.

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