President Kenyatta will formally re-open Volkswagen’s production line in Kenya on Wednesday, at a ceremony in Thika that will also be attended by the German automaker’s CEO Dr Herbert Diess.
The ceremony will see the first Volkswagen car assembled in Kenya in four decades, a VW Polo Vivo, roll out of the production line at the VW facility inside the Kenya Vehicle Assembly (KVA) area.
“I am looking forward to this event. It is evidence that we have put in place the right policies and are promoting the right environment for industry to grow, for business to grow, for industry to grow, for jobs to grow,” President Kenyatta said ahead of the launch.
In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the Polo Vivo has so far only been produced in South Africa.
"It therefore makes sense for this model, and Volkswagen South Africa, to lead the expansion into Africa as VW plans to create a new region for the Group in Africa. Part of the strategy is to develop affordable innovative financing packages with local banks that will expand the new market significantly," read the statement.
He said while the intention is to start operations on a small scale with the Polo Vivo, the production facility is designed to be flexible to include production of additional models such as the luxury brands, SUV Tiguan and the Passat.
"Employees working on the Volkswagen line have been fully trained on the production systems and processes to ensure that the Kenyan VW vehicles will have the same high quality as other VW production plants around the world. Kenya is one of Africa’s key emerging markets. The country plays a prominent role within Africa and, with a GDP of over US$69.2 billion it is one of the strongest economies in the East African Community and region. Kenya is also an important transit country for trade throughout East Africa," he added.