Daimler said on Dec. 7 that it would invest in a South African plant to produce the popular Mercedes-Benz Class C auto, of which a new generation is planned for 2014.
The group's best-selling family sedan is to be manufactured in China, Germany, South Africa and the United States. Daimler will invest two billion rand (U$ 290 million) in a plant in East London as part of that strategy.
"We have had immense success in South Africa with the C-Class, and we have exported to left-hand drive markets since 1998 and to right-hand drive markets since 2000," said the group's director in South Africa, Hansgeorg Niefer.
Exports from the plant, designed to have annual capacity of 65,000 vehicles, would be shipped to other countries in Africa and to the Asia/Pacific region..
IHS Global Insight auto analyst Christoph Strmer noted that hourly wages were lower in South Africa than in Germany and said the country "is in a very strategic spot for production, because being in the same time zone as Europe helps decisions to be taken more quickly."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010