Mureza Automobile Company, a South Africa-based Zimbabwean automobile company, says it is now looking to localise production of its Mureza Prim8 vehicle that has been “successfully accepted” worldwide.
Mureza Prim8 was born out of a joint venture between Mureza and one of the largest Iranian car manufacturers, SAIPA Group. The deal entails Mureza assembling and distributing the Iranian developed Mureza Prim8.
Mr. Tatenda Mungofa, the company’s chief executive, in an interview on the sidelines of this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) said localising the production in Zimbabwe will ensure that the vehicle will be sold in local currency.
“It is possible to sell a US$13 500 vehicle in local currency at the prevailing bank rate if you are the manufacturer,” he said.
Mr. Mungofa said the trading model, which allows for selling in multiple currencies, was tried and succeeded in South Africa.
He noted that it took them 18 months to design the Prim8 vehicle, adding that the production line with the help of their technical partners is capable of producing 400 cars per day.
In 2019, the company said the assembling of the vehicles will be done at the Willowvale Motor Industry plant.
“We anticipate producing 12 000 units of the primate annually for a minimum of three years. As we introduce new models, we anticipate ramping up production to 20 000 units annually in different production facilities in the region. We have an ambitious target to produce 100 000 units in the next five years,” Mr. Mungofa noted.
The Prim8 model comes with different spec levels with 1,5L and 1,3L petrol engines. It has a turbo-powered version and an automatic and manual transmission.
The sport performance will be limited production and a fully electric version (EV) is currently under development with the partner.
The car will have a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system that has Bluetooth, satellite navigation, phone sync (both apple and android OS), steering controls, adaptive cruise control, automatic transmission, keyless entry, and air conditioning. There will be different trim and spec levels on the interior and this will allow customers to customize colours and materials at no extra cost if they pre-order the car.
The assembling is also targeted for the ex-Hyundai plant in Botswana. The government under the Zimbabwe Motor Industry Development Policy (ZMIDP), is expected to see the sector ramping up capacity from the current levels of under 10 percent to full capacity by 2030.
Zimbabweans have been importing vehicles, particularly second-hand, averaging US$500 million per annum between 2009 and 2014, prejudicing the country of the much-needed foreign currency.
Although capacity utilisation at local vehicle assemblers has been declining from 20 000 units in 1997 to about 6 000 in 2009, vehicle imports are believed to have worsened the situation.