Imperial Plans Hyundai Truck Production in South Africa

Imperial Holdings Ltd., owner of South Africa’s largest car-dealer network, will start building delivery trucks for Hyundai Motor Co. next month to help the South Korean manufacturer expand in the region.

Hyundai Automotive South Africa invested 110 million rand ($10.3 million) in the Johannesburg plant that will begin assembling the HD65 and HD72 mid-size models followed by H100 pickups in January, division Chief Executive Officer Alan Ross told reporters today at the factory’s inauguration. Annual capacity starting in 2015 will be about 5,000 vehicles for sale in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Hyundai joins carmakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. in assembling models including commercial vehicles in Africa’s second-biggest economy. Automotive-industry exports rose 8.2 percent to 102.7 billion rand in 2013, while capital expenditure this year is set to surge 82 percent to 7.92 billion rand, the highest since at least 2006, data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa show.

“Africa is about commercial vehicles,” Manny de Canha, chief executive officer of Imperial’s Associated Motor Holdings, said in an interview. “We want to encapsulate Africa in our distributorship going forward.”

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