The Zimbabwean government is determined to revive the once vibrant motor industry as part of its efforts to promote the consumption of local products.
The move will also ensure value chain development, generate foreign currency and create employment.
Tom Sarimana, General Manager of Quest Motors, a vehicle manufacturing company, recently said that the firm has the capacity to meet local demand, the state-run broadcaster ZBC reported Sunday.
“We can produce in excess of 10,000 vehicles and we can employ at least 3,500 workers per day in three eight-hour shifts if the business is there.
“The facility is there and so is the infrastructure. We have also started to make our own jigs as opposed to what we did in the past,” he said.
Quest, which started operating in Zimbabwe in 1960, currently holds the franchise for carmakers from China such as Foton, JMC and Chery, as well as for Japanese manufacturers – Mitsubishi and Toyota.
Quest has over the years also assembled Volvo, Leyland and Nissan buses, and currently holds the franchise to build Chinese-owned Yutong and Zhongtong buses.
Sekai Nzenza, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Industry and Commerce said the revival of the local automotive industry tops the government’s priorities.
“Under the president’s mandate for local production, innovation, creation of employment and economic growth, we as the ministry of industry and commerce have taken the president’s directive to promote local production very seriously,” Nzenza said.
The motor industry is seen as strategic in economic turnaround given its invaluable impact in job creation, value addition and contribution to GDP.
In addition to creating employment, the assembling of vehicles locally is also expected to have ripple effects on the economy since a substantial amount of materials would be sourced locally.
Last year Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said Zimbabwe will soon start to locally manufacture buses for the mass public transport system.
Zimbabwe’s vehicle manufacture has been struggling to stay afloat as the government, which is their biggest customer, has over the years shunned locally produced vehicles preferring imports instead.
Besides Quest Motors, other car assembling firms in Zimbabwe include AVM Africa, a bus and truck maker and Willowvale Motor Industries (WMI) with its bus-making subsidiary Deven Engineering.