Johannesburg: Indian automotive giant Tata Motors will start construction of a vehicle assembly plant in South Africa next week, giving the country’s economy a huge boost, according to a report in Business Day daily here, citing “a well-placed government source”.
However, Tata officials are not giving out much information on the plans.
“We’re not giving out any details now, but it’s been the planning for some time now to build an assembly plant in South Africa, ” Tata’s spokesman in Dubai, Debasis Roy, told the daily.
Confirming the report, he said Tata would announce details of its plan for South Africa “shortly”, though he refused to give any details on the size of the prospective investment.
“We’re very excited that it’s got to the point that it’s come to fruition. We’re on the doorstep of a major milestone,” he said.
The daily said the government source had indicated that a sod-turning ceremony for the plant would take place on 22 July, and that the plant at Rosslyn, an industrial area north of Pretoria, was likely to manufacture a commercial vehicle or bus for the local and African market.
Analysts said any low-cost, locally built competitive product would not only shake up the local car market, but also create hundreds of jobs in the region.
Tata currently imports its low-cost Indica hatchback, which has found some favour among local consumers in a very competitive market.
The company’s specialty in South Africa has been providing a wide range of trucks and commercial vehicles, rather than consumer cars.