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February 22, 2018

Volkswagen to open Thika assembly plant, first car in December

A Volkswagen logo is seen on one of the German automaker's cars in a street in Sydney, Australia, October 8, 2015. /REUTERS
A Volkswagen logo is seen on one of the German automaker's cars in a street in Sydney, Australia, October 8, 2015. /REUTERS

German manufacturer Volkswagen will start assembling cars in the industrial town of Thika in December.

Michael Derus, deputy head of mission and head of economic affairs at the German Embassy, made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday.

Derus said the first locally assembled German automobile, christened Vivo, will be out on December 21,  just in time for Christmas.

The factory is gearing up for the full assembly of 1,000 cars every year starting January.

This will be the first full production plant for German automobiles in East Africa, competing with plants in Egypt and South Africa in making the European vehicles for the sub-Saharan Africa market.

Derus said the German government was keenly following political developments in the country and was happy with progress made on the IEBC.

He observed that the Kenya's economy was adversely affected by the violence that followed the 2007 general elections, and hoped that next year will not bring a similar scenario.

He commended Kenya on the March 4, 2013 general election, which he noted did not negatively affect economic growth.

"We anticipate that the 2017 elections will not affect economic activity after the years that the country has enjoyed stable economic growth," he said.

He spoke during a German-Kenyan conference on the printing industry in Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said early in September that the re-entry of the Volkswagen assembly plant into the Kenyan market will help the government create more jobs.

Uhuru said the return was in line with the government’s promise of growing the manufacturing industry.

Volkswagen South Africa MD Thomas Schäfer signed an agreement with the government to launch the Volkswagen local assembly at the Thika plant, in which the state has a 35 per cent stake.

More on this: Return of Volkswagen will create jobs, says Uhuru

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