First Toyota export from SA

Mar 22, 2003
Author: P&S


When the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines car carrier Mignon arrives in Durban at the end of March (scheduled for 31 March) it won’t be a routine visit simply to discharge and load motor vehicles at the large Durban Car Terminal.

The 1999-built Mignon (57 018-gt) will load the first South African-built Toyotas for export - a batch of Run-X motorcars for the Australian market. The Corolla series, of which the Run X is the hatchback version, will be exported in increasing numbers in the coming years.

According to reports some 8,000 vehicles are expected to leave Durban for Australia this year and this number is expected to increase to substantial volumes from 2004.

The chairman of Toyota SA Elizabeth Bradley said this was the first dedicated programme incorporating global quality standards that is targeting the export market. Until now Toyota SA, the country’s largest motor manufacturer has concentrated on supplying the local market, with minor exports of mostly light delivery vehicles to Africa.

Bradley said that Japan would also be supplying Australia with Corolla models and the success of the South African export drive to that country would depend on what she described as the inability of Australians to distinguish South African made Corollas from Japanese models.

South Africa was also one of five Toyota subsidiaries worldwide that will benefit from a new global export programme for light delivery vehicles (bakkies), which would involve components as well as completely manufactured vehicles.

This follows a R4 Bn investment in the South African plant at Prospecton in Durban and an expected doubling of production volumes by 2007, of which 80,000 vehicles are expected to be exported worldwide.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said last year that total motor exports from this country would reach 120,000 units, which is a 40 % increase on 2001. Naamsa’s chairman Ian Robertson said that Naamsa anticipated the export market expanding to reach 250,000 units annually as a result of new entrants (such as Toyota and Nissan) coming on stream. Exports from the motor industry reached R40 Bn in 2002, and the R150 Bn automotive sector had become South Africa’s third largest sector after mining and agriculture.

Meanwhile work in underway on enlarging the Durban car terminal in the port to provide an additional 3,300 vehicle parking bays in a covered three-storey building that will be connected to the wharfside via a bridge over the port entrance road and railway system. The building marks an expansion programme designed to take the terminal well beyond the 115,000 units currently being handled annually to in excess of 150,000 pa. The Durban car terminal currently has 3,000 parking bays all in open secure space.

Barwil SA is the South African agent acting for the Mignon and other Wallenius Wilhelmsen arrivals.


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