German automaker Volkswagen unveiled its first Made in Rwanda vehicle from its Kigali assembly plant. The car manufacturing industry ventured into the Rwandan market early this year as it set to compete in the manufacturing sector with other key players. The company identified the market as a potential investment hub to expand its business in Africa, following similar experience in South Africa where it has cemented its brand. Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria are other countries the German has established its branches in Africa.
The launch of the Volkswagen Polo in Kigali Special Economic Zone was attended by the Head of State, to stamp his support in developing the sector in the country. President Paul Kagame has expressed his desire for Rwanda to manufacture its own automobile products than to rely on imported cars that limit the growth of the industry. Manufacturers have hailed the bodacious move by the President as they suffered lack of market for their products.
Adding to his detest on the imported cars, he reiterated that they are quite expensive and a number cause environmental pollution due to their age. Uganda is on the same track in limiting importation of second-hand cars and is making policies to see their objectives fulfilled.
A tussle between him and U.S President Donald Trump concerning second-hand clothes opened the eyes of the African Union (AU) Chairman into realizing the potential of the local industry and their contribution to the economic growth. With the introduction of German automaker Volkswagen, the President is looking to lure more investors to set up their businesses to spur the country’s economy as they look to build the local industry as well.
Other than the Polo that has been rolled out, the German company will build a Passat, Teramont and Tiguan. These are exciting models tat suit the Rwandan market and the board is hopeful to make sales.
Africa has an exciting market with a high potential for the automotive development and could be a worthwhile investment made to go a long way for big car manufactures with plants in the continent. The company is planning to manufacture at least 2000 cars annually to saturate the market with its products. It will not only be able to meet its objectives on a company level, but meet the needs of the market as well and ensure it thrives regionally.
It main objective is to produce low cost fuel consuming vehicles as the company understands the dynamics of the regional economy. Toyota has been able to succeed because of the low cost fuel consumption cars and availability of spare parts. Planning to manufacture three models for the country, the company is up to challenge Nissan and Foton, other companies that have been competitive in the sector in East Africa.