Groupe PSA to assemble Peugeot, Opel vehicles in Namibia

13th March 2018 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Groupe PSA to assemble Peugeot, Opel vehicles in Namibia

Groupe PSA has signed an agreement with the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) to assemble Peugeot and Opel vehicles in Walvis Bay.

Groupe PSA is a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles sold under the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands.

Semi-knockdown assembly at the joint venture is scheduled to start in the second half of 2018, with a targeted volume of 5 000 units a year by 2020, in order to meet demand in the South African Customs Union (SACU), says Groupe PSA.

The Peugeot 3008 and Opel Grandland sports-utility vehicles will be the first output from this factory, with other products set to follow.

The agreement with the NDC is part of Groupe PSA’s strategic growth plan – Push to Pass. It is the company’s ambition to develop internationally by directly producing 70% of the vehicles sold in the region within Middle East and Africa.

“This investment in Namibia is part of Groupe PSA’s long-term strategy to increase its sales in Africa and the Middle East, which is consistent with our target to sell one-million vehicles [in the region] in 2025,” says Groupe PSA Middle East and Africa executive VP Jean-Christophe Quemard.

“This new capacity will serve regional markets with products in line with our Opel and Peugeot customer expectation”.

Groupe PSA sales in the Middle East and Africa region increased by 61.4% year on year in 2017, to 618 800 units, of which 26 800 units belonged to the newly acquired Opel brand.

This performance was driven by the group’s presence in Iran, with 444 600 units sold in this country in 2017.

Group PSA said in January that it was continuing “to expand its manufacturing base, breaking ground on the Kenitra plant, in Morocco, starting up local production in Kenya and Ethiopia, and signing a memorandum of understanding to set up a new plant in Oran, Algeria”.

“We are extremely proud of the investment into Africa by PSA,” noted Peugeot Citroën South Africa (PCSA) MD Francisco Gaie.

“Peugeot has a long-standing heritage in Africa and this is a continuation of our commitment and efforts to reach new heights for the brand”.

PCSA says the assembly plant will, in time, result in greater production capacity for the South African market and will ensure that Peugeot remains competitive in the local market.

Gaie says the Namibian government has created a favourable investment environment, which allows Groupe PSA to build a “profitable project”.

“Since independence, the Namibian government has pursued free-market economic principles designed to promote commercial development and job creation. The Namibian government has actively encouraged foreign investment. The liberal Foreign Investment Act of 1990 provides guarantees to investors. The country is a favourable investing environment and we are confident that our partnership with the Namibia Development Corporation will help us serve the local market and all SACU countries.”

Japanese auto group VT Holdings on June 1, 2017, signed a deal to acquire 51% of PCSA from Groupe PSA.

PSA retains 49% of the operations in South Africa.

PCSA said at the time that it viewed the new joint venture not as PSA partially pulling out of South Africa, but rather as a strong Japanese dealer group investing further in the country.

PCSA sold 139 vehicles in SA in February with 31 of these 3008s. The 208 was the biggest seller, at 74 units.

Opel sold 231 units in in South Africa in February.