Nelson Mandela Bay is home to most of South Africa’s automotive manufacturing and almost all the component sector and it is here where Stellantis intends building its R3-billion state-of-the art automotive assembly plant later this year.

“The project,” said Stellantis SA Managing Director Mike Whitfield, “underlines the importance Stellantis places on Nelson Mandela Bay as an automotive manufacturing hub and a gateway for the company to build vehicles for export into the rest of Africa and the Middle East.”

The investment, he told the assembled local leaders and captains of industry, underscored Stellantis’s philosophy of the circular economy; investing in the areas in which it operates, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.”

The building of the plant is part of Stellantis’s Dare Forward 2030 strategy to produce a million units a year, with 70% localisation and achieve 22% market share in Middle East and Africa by 20230, in tandem with the existing Stellantis manufacturing operations in North Africa: in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.

Construction is scheduled to being very shortly, Whitfield said, following the finalisation of the Joint Venture agreement between Stellantis and South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, which will be a 49% shareholder. The ground for the 32,5ha site is being provided by the Coega Development Corporation, which has completed the removal and rehoming of all flora and fauna in terms of the environmental impact assessment report.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, with production of the PEUGEOT Landtrek 1-ton pick-up scheduled to start in Q1 2026. The plant will directly employ 1 000 people and have an initial production target of 50 000 vehicles per year, but this will be scalable, said Whitfield, to a potential 90 000 vehicles per year, with the majority destined for export.

“But this plant will be so much more than a physical building producing vehicles, it will be a testament to the enabling environment that government and agencies like the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Coega Development Corporation have created.

“Investment in the automotive industry is a long-term process and there can be no investment of any nature without a legislative environment that ensures the playing fields are levelled, the interests of investors are protected and a roadmap that guides all stakeholders,” he said.

PHOTO CAPTION BELOW: L-R – Themba Khoza (Action CEO, CDC), Mike Whitfield (MD Stellantis), Gary van Niekerk (Executive Mayor Nelson Mandela Bay), Desmond Fenner (Plant Project Manager Stellantis), Kobus Sauer (Industrial Specialist – Automotive, IDC)