By inaugurating a new car production facility, the Volkswagen brand has officially returned to Kenya, where it used to assemble the Beetle in the 1960s.
The plant is located in Thika, near the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, and it represents the company’s third manufacturing facility in Africa, joining the ones in South Africa and Nigeria.
“After over 60 years of Volkswagen vehicle production in South and North Africa, I am delighted to now have a further site in Kenya. We will systematically continue to develop our position in the fast-growing African car market“, commented VW brand’s CEO, Herbert Diess.
Present at the opening festivity, the country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said: “A few months ago, this was only a dream. Now, Volkswagen’s investment in Kenya has become reality. This is further proof of my government’s determination to strengthen the production location of Nairobi, and to forge ahead with the industrialization of the nation.”
Making sure that all vehicles have “constant high quality levels”, employees at the KVM (Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers) are trained by the Volkswagen Group South Africa, and apart from school or academic guidance, young people will also receive practical training.
With an initial production phase of 1,000 vehicles annually, which could eventually increase up to 5,000 in long-term, the company’s plant has already rolled off the first locally-produced vehicle, a Polo Vivo, which was thoroughly inspected by the Kenyan President and VW CEO.
Volkswagen’s operations across the African continent won’t stop here, though, as the German giant is also looking to start vehicle production in Algeria, as it was recently announced.