Morocco's minister of industry, investment, trade and the digital economy, Moulay Hafid Elallamy, minister of economics and finance, Mohamed Boussaid and Magneti Marelli CEO Pietro Gorlier have signed an agreement to build an auto parts plant in the country which initially will make shock absorbers.

The plant wll be in the Tanger Automotive City free zone in Tangier and will be about 20,000 sq m expansion possible later.

Production capacity when fully operational will be 6m pieces a year. Production is scheduled to begin in 2019 with the plant amploying about 500 people by 2025.

The project will require a spend of about EUR37m (US$43m) but will benefit from Moroccan state support under its automotive industry policy.

The factory initially will focus on shock absorbers for cars and commercial vehicles with possible extension to "other products" later.

Magneti Marelli said production in Morocco logically followed on supply deals with "a number of important automotive clients in the North Africa region" and also marked the opening of a new market in the Maghreb area.

"We are delighted to be a partner of the Moroccan state in one of the strategic objectives of the country, the development of the automotive industry," said Gorlier.

"The creation of an industrial site in Morocco represents an opportunity to further expand [our] business, responding to the demands and needs of a number of key clients that are making important investments in the area."

Elalamy said "[the project] feeds the manufacturing and sourcing ecosystems in the context of the Industrial Accelerated Plan. With this new project, a new craft is being developed in Morocco, the value chain is getting more complex and the sector is gaining from a successful integration. The Magneti Marelli activity will benefit also the network of the local suppliers from whom the Tangier factory will be getting its supply".

Renault and PSA are among the automakers with assembly plants in Morocco and there are also smaller KD kit assemblers across the wider African continent in countries such as Kenya.