VW expands its African operation
Volkswagen has announced their expansion deeper into Sub-Saharan Africa with major plans for Rwanda. The first phase of the expansion includes a new production facility, a retail outlet, a training centre and a custom developed App for the mobility services, all expected to cost Volkswagen over R240-million.
Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa announced that VWSA has registered a company in Rwanda called Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda. Among other factors, VW specifically chose Rwanda due to their political stability and dynamic economic growth.
The facility will be capable of holding 5000 units in the early stages, with the product portfolio including the Polo Hatchback, the Passat, a new sedan as well as the Teramont SUV. Volkswagen will also import other VW models to be sold in Rwanda.
Approximately 500-1000 jobs will be created in the first phase, distributed between admin, production, training, sales and transport. Community car-sharing will be the first service to launch, followed by a ride-hailing service in the medium-term. 2019 will see the implementation of public car-sharing, followed by a shuttle-service and, lastly, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service.
All services will be available via VW’s custom developed app, which will facilitate bookings and payments. An online platform will also be available for users without smartphone access.
“We believe in Rwanda and its people, we believe that Rwanda is uniquely positioned to roll out such an integrated mobility solution, and make a success of it. This can be the role model for similar solutions for countries in Africa and other continents”, said Mr Schaefer. “It would be remiss of me not to thank the Government of Rwanda and the executives of the RDB specifically for the extraordinary cooperation, help and guidance that has allowed us to reach the point at which we are today”, concluded Mr Schaefer