The VW group is expanding in South Africa as part of its Strategy 2018. Following investment totalling around EUR500m (US$600m) there over the last four years, the company has announced a further EUR50m (US$60m) on modernising and expanding the press shop at its plant in Uitenhage, near Port Elizabeth. It has also opened a new EUR23m (US$27.6m) distribution centre near Pretoria.

Chairman Martin Winterkorn said: “We want to make Volkswagen the world’s leading automaker in economic and ecological terms by 2018. And the Uitenhage plant plays an important role in this context.

“Volkswagen is the market leader on South Africa’s passenger car market. Our existing investment, coupled with the new measures, lays the foundation for staying on our growth path. We have created 1,000 new jobs over the last 12 months, started production of the new Polo and significantly expanded local content. Volkswagen remains in the fast lane in South Africa.”

The company sold 29,350 vehicles between January and May, an increase of 34.8% compared with the same period a year ago, while the overall passenger car market grew 28.3%.

VW SA recently increased local content from 40 to 70% under an intensive localisation strategy. It will also launch its BlueMotion technology this October, coinciding with South Africa’s new, more stringent environmental legislation which also comes into force at the end of this year. This will initially be available for Polo, Golf, Tiguan and Touareg models.