Troller, a Brazilian off-road vehicle maker, has signed an agreement for Equi-Tec to assemble its T4 jeep model in Angola.

To make the vehicle, Equi-Tec will build a plant in the industrial zone of Benguela city, in the mid-west of the country. The land for the plant has been provided by the city.

The plant will assemble CKD kits shipped from Brazil and will have initial capacity for 100 units a month. Production will start in March 2005.

“In the first stage all parts will be sent from Brazil, but we expect to develop local parts in conjunction with Equi-Tec and suppliers. We now have two engineers working in Angola”, said Clécio Eloy, business director of Troller.

The Troller T4 is a 4×4 two door jeep with a steel chassis and fibreglass body. It has a MWM 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, Dana axles and Clark manual transmission. A military version, the T4-M, will also be produced in Angola.

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The Troller vehicles will be launched in Angola before local assembly starts. On 20 August the first dealer will open in Luanda, the capital.

To supply dealers until assembly starts, Troller exported 30 vehicles to Angola in July and will regularly ship about 20 vehicles per month.

“The Angolan operation is part of our strategy to export to African countries”, said Mario Araripe, president of Troller.

Banguela was chosen as the plant location because it is near Lobito Port, Angola’s second largest.

According to Troller, the Banguela plant will be the first vehicle factory established in Angola since the country gained independence in 1975. The vehicle manufacturer believes that the vehicle market there has great growth potential.

Following the civil war, the country’s economy, based on the production of petroleum and diamonds, has been recovering.

Troller estimates that the country has a fleet of about 500,000 vehicles for around 12 million inhabitants.

Troller was established in 1995 in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza city, in Ceará state, and developed its jeep. In 1996 the company made 44 prototypes for development tests.

In 1998, Troller opened a plant in Horizonte city, also in Ceará state, to produce the T4 model with a Volkswagen 2.0-litre petrol engine. Two years later it started to install the MWM 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine in the model.

Last year, the company produced 1,100 vehicles and expects to end 2004 with 1,300 units built.

In 2005, Troller plans to expand its vehicle range with a pick-up model.

Troller is currently negotiating further exports to Latin American and Middle East countries.

Rogerio Louro