Korean car maker Hyundai has opened its first ever East African assembly plant in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa.
According to a report from Reuters, the assembly plant will produce approximately 10,000 vehicles a year with some of the vehicles that will be assembled at the plant including passenger hatchback cars and trucks.
According to Hyundai’s Chief Executive Won Hee Lee the company was drawn into the Ethiopian market because of its fast growing economy which, in the region, is only rivaled by that of Kenya.
The assembly plant is a joint venture between the automaker and ex-long distance runner turned businessman Haile Gebrselassie who believes that the plant will also serve other East African countries.
“This plant is big enough for Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti too,” Mr. Gebrselassie is quoted as saying by Reuters.
Hyundai will be looking to capitalize on Ethiopia’s fast growing market with its intention being to sway car buyers into buying the locally assembled cars instead of importing second hand vehicles which, despite being expensive because of import taxes, is the norm in the Horn of Africa country.
Other car assemblers in Ethiopia include: Geely, FAW, BYD and Lifan which cumulatively produce approximately 10,000 commercial and non-commercial vehicles a year for its local market.
Established in 1967 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Hyundai Motor Company leads the Hyundai Motor Group. The firm began car production in 1968 from its Ulsan Plan in South Korea. Hyundai Motors has eight manufacturing bases and seven design and technical centres worldwide and in 2015, the automaker sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. The car maker has employed approximately 100,000 employees worldwide.