General Motors South Africa (GMSA) was talking with Isuzu in Japan to expand the Port Elizabeth vehicle manufacturer's reach into Africa, said General Motors (GM) Africa president and MD Edgar Lourencon on Tuesday.
GMSA currently assemble the Isuzu KB pick-up and Chevrolet Corsa Utility vehicle platforms, with a third, still unknown platform to be announced on Thursday, as the local arm of the US vehicle manufacturer worked to breach the 50 000-unit a year production threshold which would allow it to qualify for benefits under government's Automotive Production and Development Programme, due to kick off in 2013. Production at GMSA's plant would be around 30 000 units in 2010.
Lourencon said that GMSA was currently supplying the Isuzu pick-up to the South African market, as well as to some neighbouring countries (such as Zimbabwe), but that GMSA was looking to expand its reach, and act as a manufacturing base for the whole of the sub-Saharan market.
"This is very exciting for us," said Lourencon.
He added that the new Isuzu KB pick-up would be available in the local market in 2013.
GMSA produced 10 550 Isuzu pick-ups for the local market in 2009, and 915 vehicles for neighbouring markets. Year-to-date numbers show 7 874 pick-ups were produced for the South African market and 528 for neighbouring states.