BAIC starts X25 production in South Africa
China's Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) began production at its newly built car assembly plant in South Africa this week.
The factory was timed to coincide with the 10th BRICs summit in Johannesburg, attended by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The first vehicle, the X25 compact SUV with 1.5-litre engine, rolled off the production line at the factory located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) near Port Elizabeth.
The plant is a joint venture majority owned by BAIC, which has a 65% stake, and South Africa's state owned Industrial Development Corporation which controls the remaining 35%.
The opening marked the completion of the first stage of a planned US$800m joint spend, bringing on stream 50,000 units of annual production capacity.
The second phase, expected complete by the end of 2019, would double the plant's capacity to 100,000 units with a target of 60% local content.
Output would be both sold locally and exported to neighbouring countries.