Once the Beetle, now the Polo, for Kenya build

• Agreement to produce Polo Vivo with local partner
• Beginning of engagement in emerging market
• Production scheduled to commence at end of 2016

VW Polo Vivo for build in Kenya. Image: VW/Quickpic
VIVA THE VIVO: Thomas Schaefer, chairman and MD of VW South Africa, says TE VW Polo Vivo will be assembled in Kenya. Image: VW/Quickpic

NAIROBI, Kenya / WOLFSBURG, Germany – Volkswagen continues to drive forward with the regionalisation of the global automotive business. The brand is planning to start production of the Polo Vivo in Kenya at the end of 2016.

An agreement to that effect has been signed in Nairobi by the Kenyan government and Thomas Schaefer, chairman and MD of Volkswagen SA. It was described as “an important step by the Volkswagen brand towards engaging further in new emerging markets – with the right products and know-how from the region”.

‘ENORMOUS GROWTH POTENTIAL’

The Polo Vivo will be assembled in Thika, near Nairobi. The project which will be Volkswagen’s third production facility in Africa – the others are in South Africa and Nigeria. The Kenyan target is 5000 Vivos a year.

Schaefer added: “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 south of the Sahara so is the ideal entry model for the promising Kenyan market,. 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,.”

LOCAL TRAINING TO START

President Kenyatta said: “The investment by VW in Kenya is a milestone in my administration’s determined push to grow the manufacturing base and industrialise the nation.”

There’s also a plant to establish a local training centre to qualify production workers, initially of the VW production team, later  to provide basic training for young people to learn general industrial skills.

Kenya has a prominent role in East Africa with a GDP of some US$63-billion, one of the strongest economies in the East African Community, and is an important transit country for trade throughout East Africa. Good economic relations exist between Kenya and VW’s home country, Germany.

A long tradition has linked VW and Kenya since the 1960s when the VW Beetle was assembled there and further VW models could be assembled there.

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