ELIDZ gets ready for C-Class production

The East London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) is laying the groundwork for increased automotive investments, with multimillion rand expansion due to be completed in the course of 2012.

The automotive industry is one of the main arteries of local economic development in the Eastern Cape and the East London IDZ has attracted major players in the industry, says East London IDZ chief executive Simphiwe Kondlo. “One of the IDZ’s main automotive investors, Mercedes-Benz South Africa, has announced plans to produce its new generation C-Class (W205) at its East London plant, a move that will inject billions into the local economy through the direct investment and spin-offs,” says Kondlo.

“Currently Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler AG, is preparing to inject a further R2.5 billion into its East London manufacturing plant following the decision to produce the C-Class (W205) model in South Africa, alongside sister plants in Germany, the US and China.” And with the first W205 due to roll off the assembly line this year, the IDZ is hard at work preparing for the feeder ramifications of this new investment.

“To best prepare for and sustain these opportunities, and to stimulate future automotive developments, the IDZ has authorised a pre-feasibility study to look into ways to both enhance and refine the MultiModel Original Equipment Manufacturing model,” says Kondlo.

The automotive industry remains a crucial partner with multiple cross-cutting benefits measurable in both direct and downstream terms, he added. “Our partnership with MBSA has been hugely beneficial for the region and the country as a whole, and as we head into a new C-Class production era, this partnership will continue to grow with exponential benefits.”

Kondlo believes that the overall success achieved in the automotive supplier park goes to the heart of what the IDZ prioritises in its value proposition. “The suppliers located in the park are producing world-standard products and components which are globally competitive. Every Mercedes Benz C and E-class unit rolling off the world world’s assembly lines sports a component manufactured right here in our zone by Foxtec-Ikhwezi.”