Business Insider Edition

Opel will build thousands of cars in Namibia – barely a year after leaving South Africa

James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
  • Production of Opel vehicles will start in Namibia later this year. 
  • The cars built are meant for Southern Africa – including South Africa.
  • Opel, under previous ownership, ceased production in South Africa at the start of 2017. 

The manufacturer of Opel and Peugeot on Monday announced plans to assemble roughly 5,000 vehicles in Namibia by 2020 – less than on year after Opel ceased production in South Africa.

Production on the first Opel models will start in mid-2018 to meet the demand of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Groupe PSA executive vice president for the Middle East and Africa region Jean-Christophe Quémard said in a statement. 

SACU countries include South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. 

"This investment in Namibia is part of the long-term strategy of Groupe PSA to increase its sales in Africa and the Middle East, consistent with our target to sell one million vehicles in 2025," Quémard said. 

PSA Groupe bought Opel in August 2017, six months after its previous owner, GM Motors, announced it was leaving the South African market.

GM Motors had been in South Africa since 1913. 

The company said it was leaving because it was "transforming" its global business. 

"There have been significant changes to the global industry over the last few years, and our global strategy has evolved with these changes," a statement read at the time.

"The most significant industry change has been the emergence of mobility (autonomous/ ridesharing/ electrification/ connectivity) as a service and as a long-term growth opportunity."

The company said it believed it would achieve "greater return on investment" with SUVs and crossovers in the United States and China. 

The PSA Groupe did not respond to a request for comment. 

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) did not want to comment on the PSA's groups latest move. 

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