On 31 August 1951, the first Volkswagen vehicle manufactured in South Africa, a Volkswagen Beetle, rolled off the assembly line.
Exactly seven decades later, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) celebrated the brand’s 70th anniversary in South Africa. The story of VWSA, a company that is currently a market leader and the largest private employer in Nelson Mandela Bay with over 4 000 employees, has included many achievements and milestones along the way.
Aside from the vehicles imported for the local market, the plant in Kariega has manufactured many iconic vehicles, including the Volkswagen Beetle, the Type 2 Kombi, various Audi models, the Golf (including Citi Golf), the Polo range and the Polo Vivo. The plant also began manufacturing the latest facelift of the Volkswagen Polo in August.
The plant has manufactured over 4 million vehicles, having reached the 4-million mark in November 2020 with a Volkswagen Polo. VWSA has been the sole manufacturer of all new right-hand-drive Polo hatchbacks since 2010 and is the exclusive manufacturer of the flagship Polo GTI. VWSA also achieved a record production year in 2019, when the plant manufactured 161 954 vehicles in a single year. Another milestone achievement came in 2020, when the Volkswagen brand in South Africa achieved a local market share of 21,6% – the highest in the history of VWSA, and the highest market share for Volkswagen worldwide last year.
“To reflect on a history that spans seven decades of hard work and excellence is an immense task,” said Dr Robert Cisek, VWSA Chairman and Managing Director. “I would like to congratulate every member of the VWSA family on their part in this milestone.”