• Donna Collins
One of the ‘giants’ of the local motor trade Pieter Senekal (MD Spes Bona Motor Company) has applauded Peugeot France for investing in the first ever assembly plant in Namibia, which will be rolling out its first models within the next few months.
The estimated N$200 million joint venture which was struck between the Namibian Development Corporation (NDC) and Groupe PSA France to set up a Peugeot and Opel assembly plant in Walvis Bay, will be up and running in three months.
Spes Bona, which is the official dealership of Peugeot in Namibia, is expecting to stock some of the first locally assembled vehicles at their showroom situated in Independence Avenue, which are pegged to arrive by the end of August.
During an interview with the New Era this week, Senekal confirmed that the assembly plant in Walvis Bay is already completed and will be fully operational within the next few months for production. The luxury Peugeot 3008 SUV will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line from this factory.
“This is the best thing that has happened to Namibia in these current economic times, and Peugeot could have gone anywhere in Africa but they chose this country,” said Senekal, adding that he compliments our government for their efficient business dealings with Peugeot.
“It is excellent to see foreign companies like the French making such positive investments to our country, especially during these tough economic times, and in my opinion, this is the best thing that has happened to the Namibian automotive industry,” said Senekal.
Senekal who will be accompanying visiting representatives of Peugeot France and Peugeot SA to the plant shortly, says that Peugeot is ranked as the second biggest vehicle manufacturer in Europe.
“Peugeot is also one of the oldest registered motor companies and manufacturers in the world, and now Namibia is going to proudly become the new Peugeot hub for the rest of Africa, with all the logistics lined up in our favour,” he continued.
“This is a historic occasion for Namibia, which will contribute positively to the upliftment of the economy through job creation and value-added services, whilst at the same time meeting the ambitions of Groupe PSA to expand into the African and Middle East markets.”
Senekal explained that the vehicles will arrive in semi-knock down format from the Peugeot factory in France, and all the parts will be assembled at the plant by our trained and skilled workers, with an expected run out of around 5 000 cars a year by 2020. The vehicles will initially be distributed to dealerships in Southern Africa.
He said that Peugeot are kicking off production with their premier product the Peugeot 3008 SUV, which was crowned the Car of the Year in Europe in 2016 and is priced from N$420 000.
In light of these new developments to manufacture locally, Senekal expects that Peugeot will adjust its pricing to become more affordable than its competitors. He predicts that the Namibian motoring public will be changing its mindset about the Peugeot brand and that its popularity will increase. He also said that Peugeot have not hiked their 2018 prices by a 1% increase, as their confidence in the market place grows.
According to a statement by Peugeot’s Fabrice Verastegui (International Industrial Projects Development Manager), 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 their target to sell one million vehicles in 2025. This will set the course for growth in these important markets of the future.
Meanwhile Mayor of Walvis Bay Alderman Immanuel Wilfried, called this a “double celebration”, in the wake of the 28th Independence anniversary, claiming that this the most exciting piece of news to come out of the harbour town in recent times.
Namibia will through the development corporation hold 51 percent equity, with Groupe PSA getting 49 percent.
Pieter Senekal MD Spes Bona Motor Company which holds the Peugeot dealership stands with the Peugeot 3008 SUV which will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line at the new Walvis Bay plant. Photo: Donna Collins