JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) - A NEW African car brand will debut in the continent's biggest motor show in South Africa later this week.
Known as Mureza
(Shona for flag), it is to premier at the Automechanika Johannesburg scheduled for Wednesday to Saturday.
Mureza initially has a joint venture with the SAIPA Group in Iran for platform-sharing and the supply of some of the other major components.
The venture aims to expand to several African countries and providing much-needed job opportunities.
Initially, Mureza Auto Company is looking to building up employment at Rosslyn, Pretoria to 1 000 people, producing ten to 35 units daily.
Assembling is to start early in 2020.
Mureza's ultimate objective is to "design and manufacture vehicles in Africa for African drivers."
The first model, the Prim8 (pronounced Primate), is a crossover/hatchback which will be assembled initially from SKD kits in the Automotive Supplier Park in Rosslyn, South Africa, and later at the Willowvale assembly plant in Harare, Zimbabwe and in the ex-Hyundai plant in Botswana.
Funders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are backing the project.
Tatenda Mungofa, one of a group of Africans from various countries who are driving this ambitious project, conformed the upcoming debut of the car.
"The word Mureza means 'Flag' and we want to be the flag wavers for an indigenous African motor industry," Mungofa said.
"We want to be like Henry Ford who replaced horses with affordable cars. In our case it will be replacing imported used cars with affordable cars made in Africa."
The Prim8 uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine developing 87kW. It drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or CVT transmission.
The target is to offer the fully equipped top model at between R180 000 (US$12 200) and R200 000.
The comprehensive specification of the top model includes keyless entry, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, satnav, reversing camera, cruise control, parking sensors, audio system, air conditioning, power-adjustable driver's seat, four airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes and tyre pressure monitoring.
The initial local content target is 40 percent with significant increases in the short to medium term
Mungofa said Mureza Auto Company would engage with the people selling used imports to retail new models.
They would appoint independent servicing outlets in the various Southern African countries that they are targeting as a first step for the new company.
"Here in South Africa we are also looking to sell our various Mureza models through used vehicle outlets instead of setting up new car franchised dealerships. Online selling will be important for us too," Mungofa added.
Mureza has an ambitious product plan which starts with adding a half-ton pick-up, a sedan and high-riding mini-SUV off the Prim8's X100 platform.