07 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Bestseller boost: Polo Vivo production to be expanded with Kenyan factory

Polo Vivo production to be expanded into Kenya

The most prolific bestseller in South Africa since its launch in 2010, the Polo Vivo is set to become even more popular with the announcement that production of the entry-level model will take place in Kenya from late 2016. An agreement with a local partner has been signed by Volkswagen as it looks to further its engagement in the Sub-Sahara region. A training centre will also be established with the support of the German government.

New production agreement
The new production agreement was signed today by the Kenyan Government and Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa in Nairobi. President of Kenya H E Uhuru Kenyatta was also in attendance. Volkswagen sees the move as an ‘important step towards engaging further in new emerging markets’. There is a historian link, too, as VW assembled the Beetle in Kenya in the 1960s.

The new production facility will be in the city of Thikia near Nairobi. Importer DT Dobie has been chosen as the partner to jointly realise the Kenyan venture, and the new Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM) factory will be Volkswagen’s third facility in South Africa after the main Uitenhage plant and a local facility in Nigeria. Up to 5,000 Polo Vivos are expected to be manufactured in Kenya per year from 2017.

‘Successful Polo Vivo’
‘We are taking the successful Polo Vivo from South Africa to Kenya to leverage the enormous growth potential of the African automobile market and participate in its positive development. This compact model is the best-selling car in the Sub-Saharan region – so it is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market,’ said Schaefer. ‘With this move, we are strengthening the brand’s overall position in Africa and taking an important step towards expanding our commitment in the region,’ he continued.

President Kenyatta commented: ‘The investment by the Volkswagen Group in Kenya is a key milestone in my administration’s determined push to grow the manufacturing base and industrialised the nation.’

A local training centre to qualify production workers and provide further training will also be established and will focus on the needs of the Volkswagen production team. Later, it is thought that the centre will provide basic training for young people in the region to learn general industrial skills, increasing employment opportunities. One of Africa’s emerging markets, Kenya plays a prominent role among East African nations and with a GDP of US$63 billion.

South African top-seller crown
In related news, the Polo Vivo kept its South African top-seller crown for August 2016, with 2702 units sold. The model has topped the charts for the whole of 2016 so far, and for many years previously since it replaced the Citi Golf in 2010. Based on the revised ‘9N3’ Polo first introduced in Europe during 2006, the Polo Vivo is available as a three or five-door hatchback and four-door booted saloon with 74bhp/84bhp 1.4-litre and 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engines.

For more details on the Polo Vivo, visit the Volkswagen South Africa website.

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