South Africa

The return of Fiat to SA? Stellantis signs accord for local manufacture

A major announcement in the South African motoring industry, Stellantis has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition to develop a manufacturing facility in South Africa.

The signing ceremony took place at the office of Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, and was attended by IDC CEO TP Nchocho, Stellantis Middle East and Africa chief operating officer Samir Cherfan, and Stellantis South Africa managing director Leslie Ramsoomar.

Stakeholders sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: Stellantis.

The details of where the facility will be aren’t clear, however, the manufacturing project is earmarked for completion by 2025 in a South African special economic zone. This will help strengthen Stellantis in the South African market, akin to its industrial might in South America, particularly Brazil. This isn’t their first rodeo either, with a first foray locally spearheaded by Fiat and Alfa Romeo which came to an end as a result of diplomatic sanctions during Apartheid.

Stellantis has ambitions with the Dare Forward 2030 ambition to sell one million vehicles by 2030 with 70% regional production autonomy. This will put it in contention with other industry giants like Toyota and Volkswagen who have remained firmly entrenched in South Africa for decades. It is unclear which brands within the Stellantis umbrella are planned to capitalise on this but based on the volume it would likely be Fiat, Citroën, Peugeot or Opel who will catalyse the project.

“I am pleased that Stellantis is looking to South Africa to expand its manufacturing footprint,” Patel said. “The company is a global automaker, with a range of well-known brands. South Africa is a great investment destination with significant car-making capacity. We look forward to working closely with Stellantis to enable the company to set up a plant that will expand our manufacturing base and create local jobs,” he added.

Will the Fiat Toro be manufactured locally? Photo: Stellantis.

“An investment partner like Stellantis is an amazing opportunity for South Africa,” Nchocho remarked. “Their track record in manufacturing plants around the world is impressive and we look forward to a joint venture with Stellantis to build a successful plant in South Africa. Another brick in the foundation towards our target of producing a million cars locally in SA.”

The past has yielded some special creations from the brands within the umbrella of the auto-making giant and they will presumably want this to be the start of its second fruitful chapter locally. Does it have what it takes to rival the current local manufacturing leaders though?

Read the original story on CAR Magazine.