The East London Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) unveiled an R80 million automotive component supplier investment for the upcoming Mercedes Benz C-Class W205, at a sod turning ceremony hosted at the company’s industrial park on Wednesday May 9.
The investor, RG Brose, will be suppliers of seat structures, window and door modules for the W 205 C-Class model.
The investment follows the March 2011 outward mission to Stuttgart, Germany, where the East London IDZ and the Department of Trade and Industry co-hosted the Mercedes Benz South Africa supplier day in an effort to lure potential suppliers to the world class Automotive Supplier Park.
The ceremony was attended by RG Brose representatives, MBSA plant head Arno van der Merwe, representatives of the Buffalo City Metro Municipality and the Head of Department for the Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Bulumko Nelani.
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony RG Brose Managing Director Stefano Gulmini says the company was excited at the prospects of being in the East London IDZ because of its proximity to the MBSA plant and the future growth prospects that come with being in the zone.
“We will initially employ about 80 local workers as we’ll be doing business with the MBSA plant in East London. Once we utilise our position in the IDZ and do business with the likes of VW and General Motors, we then aim to grow to about a 180 jobs by 2017,” says an excited Gulmini.
MBSA vice president of manufacturing Arno van der Merwe welcomed the investment saying that suppliers of RG Brose’s calibre would match its [MBSA] world class production and the efficiency the company delivers through its East London facility.
“This is the right investment to come here to support one of the best plants in the world. The defect rate at MBSA is low and we are in first place with world class efficiency level in East London,” says ven der Merwe.
“MBSA is about sustainable growth and we regard Eastern Cape and South Africa as a strategic environment for business.”
Automotive Sector Manager Cyndi-Lee Perils says the investment will bring untold benefits to the province.
“The most exciting part about this investment is the fact that this company has purchased its 1.3 hectors of land here in the ELIDZ; this means that they have committed to a long-term stay in the zone and this city,.” says Perils, adding that the R80 million investment will go towards a state-of-the-art specialised factory and machinery.
According to Perils, this new investor is just the beginning, as there are a number of exciting projects coming up in the sector. In the near future the East London IDZ is looking to introduce an additional eight auto suppliers to the zone.