VW lives the vision for a pan-African auto industry


The future of South Africa’s motor industry is symbiotically linked to the future of Africa, says Thomas Schaefer, chairman and MD of Volkswagen South Africa.

“Where else can we grow exports to? The US is closing its doors on us, the European market is saturated, the UK is in a state of flux with Brexit, and China has never been an option.”

The answer, he says, lies in Africa. There are a billion people on the continent, yet there are only 20 vehicles to every 1 000 people. In South Africa, this number is 150, in Europe it’s 650 and in Germany specifically, it’s 680. “We don’t want to increase Africa to European levels, but imagine if one could increase a country like Nigeria to a density of 150 vehicles per 1 000 people? That would make local production feasible.”

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