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French vehicle manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroën has decided it would be unviable to manufacture a right-hand drive version of its Peugeot 301 passenger car in South Africa, but has not abandoned its plans to manufacture vehicles in the country.

However, PSA Peugeot Citroën has started semi-knocked down (SKD) production of the Peugeot 301 in Nigeria with the aim of eventually moving to completely knocked down (CKD) manufacturing in that country.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has assisted the Nigerian government with the initiation of its automotive development programme, with former trade and industry minister Alec Erwin a consultant to the Nigerian government on this project.

Francis Harnie, the managing director of Peugeot Citroën South Africa, said yesterday that the Peugeot 301 produced in Nigeria would not be imported to South Africa, stressing it was only produced as a left-hand drive model and was only for the Nigerian market.

Harnie said the expected sales volumes in South Africa and right-hand drive neighbouring countries were insufficient for the Peugeot 301 on its own to qualify for the incentives available in terms of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) but the project had “not been buried”.

He said the Peugeot 301 remained a very interesting model for South Africa and its neighbouring countries but there would be market demand for only between 5 000 and 6 000 in South Africa and about 4 000 in neighbouring countries. The APDP has an annual production threshold of 50 000 units to qualify for incentives.

Harnie was hopeful the review of the APDP that was currently taking place would result in some changes, such as a reduction in the annual production threshold, which would assist PSA Peugeot Citroën to start producing vehicles in South Africa.

“I’m not involved in the [APDP review] discussions but know there is a demand from local manufacturers to reduce the volumes because I don’t think the 50 000 [unit annual threshold] is working.

“We are busy working on a lot of projects and also expecting some changes in the APDP that will help get us to the minimum volumes to get into the programme,” he said.

Harnie said the APDP had not brought any new vehicle manufacturing investors into the country in the about two years since it was introduced and the local industry was also not producing more vehicles.

“Some manufacturers are struggling. In my opinion from looking at the figures, what the government tried to do with the new rules of the APDP, I don’t think it’s working,” he said.

Harnie said PSA Peugeot Citroën could still start building cars in South Africa from 2016 but it was too early to talk about other models it could possibly produce in the country, together with or separately from the Peugeot 301.

He stressed The French car maker would not produce cars locally by making an investment in its own plant but through a contract manufacturing agreement with a local partner. Harnie confirmed it had been involved in discussions with more than one possible local partner but they had not yet reached any agreement.

He added that the first possibly temporary step towards local production could be SKD production but admitted SKD production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles did not qualify for APDP benefits, which made this unviable.


Why number plates are changing so fast

Daily minitor pic

Until a few weeks ago, UAU was the “trending” registration series only to be “dethroned” by the current UAV series. Some old series even took a full year before you would get to the next. So why the sudden increase in the rate? Abdulaziizi K. Tumusiime looks at the trend.


PVoC, has government finally woken up?

Bond 1

In the last couple of months, the automotive trade industry has been grappling with the dicey Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) program, an initiative by the government under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives aimed at curbing the importation of automobiles that do not conform to standards spelled out in the country’s laws (read substandard cars). This is expected to go a long way in reversing the trend of Uganda being everyone’s ‘’dumping ground’’ for substandard goods.

When PVoC was re-commissioned at the beginning of June 2013, following its initial six months suspension, the traders and importers under their umbrella organisations led by Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) went on strike, citing high expenses of the entire program as well as few companies accredited for the exercise, causing delays. For instance, the government issued a 15% surcharge on CIF value for uninspected vehicles plus inspection fee of 140$ which traders say heighten the final consumer price.

Now wait a second!!!!! Doesn’t it seem obvious that the traders are missing a crucial point here??? One would think that safety and wellbeing of consumers would be priority of traders when conducting business; after all, there won’t be any consumers left if the current crop isn’t cared for. Obviously, the traders ‘raising dust’ raise suspicion on the quality of cars they are selling and are likely to be the dubious kind who put profit making above safety of consumers. It wasn’t so long ago in Uganda that the media was awash with unconfirmed reports of nuclear contaminated cars from Japan (Fukushima disaster 2011) making their way into the Ugandan market. It’s further alleged that most of such cars were in pristine condition and were sold off to unsuspecting Ugandans who were possibly too taken up in in the ‘hot deals’ to suspect any wrong.

Perhaps the other question to ask is why PVoC didn’t happen earlier!! Guess only government officials in the ministry can answer that; it is even likely that the damage could have already been done as there are so many substandard DMC vehicles on the roads. In worse case scenarios, some are nuclear contaminated!! No wonder Mulago hospital has been reporting a surge in the number of patients diagnosed with cancer every year for the past 5 years. Whereas this sounds far too speculative, it would be folly to totally write it off; besides, better being speculative and take necessary precaution than having to deal with a raging fire.

So, what next?
Now more than ever, it’s every consumer’s right and responsibility to demand PVoC documentation when purchasing any automobile from the various dealers. The government through the ministry should also streamline the process and work closely with traders to make the program efficient.


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