German company Friedrich Boysen has started construction of a 10 000 m2 facility to supply complete exhaust systems to Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s (MBSA’s) plant, in East London, in a R180-million investment that will create 70 jobs.
The factory, to be constructed in the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), will open its doors in the middle of next year, ready to supply MBSA’s new C-Class production line, says Friedrich Boysen president Rolf Geisel.
The Boysen group manufactures a wide range of products for the automotive sector, including exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and silencers. It has manufacturing facilities in Germany, the US, India, China, Egypt and France. The plant in the ELIDZ will be group’s first facility in South Africa.
The factory will produce 90 000 exhaust systems a year.
The Boysen group is the second component supplier, linked to the new C-Class programme investing in the ELIDZ in the last six months, says ELIDZ CEO Simphiwe Kondlo.
Earlier this year, the first new international supplier to MBSA’s new C-Class, RG Brose, took up residence at the ELIDZ in a R80-million investment. The company will supply seat structures and door modules to the new C-Class.
Kondlo adds that the ELIDZ is expecting another three “major announcements” on component supplier investments into its 16 ha Automotive Supplier Park, all linked to the new C-Class.
The park currently houses eleven first- and second-tier component suppliers, producing a range of components for the local and export market, including fuel tanks, brake and fuel pipes, suspension components, polypropylene impact dampers, wheelhouse liners, tyres and rims, boot liners and seat components.
MBSA manufacturing VP Arno van der Merwe notes that preparations for the launch of the new C-Class are “intensifying”, adding that “everything was on track” for the new model to start production at the East London plant in 2014.
“We want to increase our value-add and lots of work still needs to be done, but days like today are victories along this path.”