JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Mureza, a car brand new to Africa will debut at Automechanika Johannesburg at Nasrec in Jozi from September 18-21 as a joint venture with the SAIPA Group in Iran for platform-sharing and the supply of some of the other major components.
The ultimate objective is to design and assemble vehicles in Africa for African drivers.
The first model, the Prim8 (pronounced Primate), is a crossover/hatchback to be assembled for now from kits at Automotive Supplier Park in Pretoria and later at a Willowvale assembly plant in Zimbabwe and in the former Hyundai plant (wow, how many of you remember that!) in Botswana.
The business is being backed by funders in the United Arab Emirates.
The prototype Prim8 will be displayed in Hall 6 – units converted from left to right-hand drive locally – but future kits will be set up for right-hand drive. A three-year warranty will cover the car.
The Prim8 is said to have a 1.5-litre petrol engine capable of 87kW delivered through the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or a CV transmission and initial prices will range from R180 000 tp R200 000.
Spec, the importers say, will include (top model) keyless entry, 19cm touchscreen, Bluetooth, satnav, reversing camera, cruise control, parking radar, audio, aircon, power adjustment for the driving seat, four crash-mitigation bags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and tyre-pressure monitors.
‘FILLING A VOID’
The initial local content target is 40% but significant increases are promised, according to Tatenda Mungofa, one of a group of Africans from various countries driving the project.
Mungofa reminded The Corner of the price void between new / used vehicles sold in Africa that his team proposed to fill with new vehicles slightly above the cost of a used import, which are heavily taxed in certain markets. (Whether this would apply in SA is questionable – Ed).
“We are also looking to sell our Mureza models through used-vehicle outlets instead of setting up franchised dealers. Online selling will also be important and South Africa is seen as the hub of the automotive business in Africa so we’re using this country for our HQ and first assembly plant.”
AND FOR THE FUTURE…
Still to come, he added, are a half-ton bakkie, a sedan, and a high-riding mini-SUV off the Prim8’s X100 platform. A battery-electric platform for the X200 is under development in South Africa by Energy Doctors.
”The next step will be the local development of a range of one-ton bakkies and a panel van under the Tusker brand.”
Mureza is also, he added, looking to employing s many as 1000 people in the Rosslyn auto hub: perhaps 10-to 35 units a day from early 2020.