…Akufo-Addo says plant to reduce US$1.5bn car import bill
Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho Manufacturing Ghana [TTMG]), the company which controls Toyota sales and marketing in Africa, has opened a 1,300 unit vehicle per year assembling plant in Accra.
The US$7 million plant, the first by a Japanese firm in the country, started with the Toyota Hilux pickup model, to be followed by Suzuki Swift model in 2022, an arrangement which is the first of its kind in West Africa.
The company will enjoy duty free on imported parts, while Toyota Ghana will remain the sole sales and marketing partner for the locally assembled vehicles.
President Nana Akufo-Addo who inaugurated the plant, said it was a great day for mother Ghana: “By assembling and ultimately producing cars here, new and highly skilled jobs are being created.”
The country, according to the Trade and Industry Ministry, imports over 100,000 vehicles yearly at an estimated cost of US$1.5billion – 15 percent of national import bill.
He said his government attaches great importance to the development of the automotive industry because export of made in Ghana vehicles to other African market will earn the state much-needed foreign exchange, while reducing demand for second-hand cars.
“This plant has come at a very opportune time in our nation’s development, as it serves as a major boost for ongoing efforts by government to hasten our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” President Akufo-Addo said.
In addition to this, he said 334 job opportunities have been created by the plant.
Meanwhile, as an indication of commitment to the local automotive industry, Mr. Akufo-Addo directed that all government agencies purchase locally assembled vehicles.
“The vision is to make the country a highly competitive automotive hub in West Africa and we are on course,” the President noted.
Toyota Tsusho President & CEO Ichiro Kashitani stated via a video message: “Our African business has a history of more than 90 years. Based on our philosophy of “with Africa for Africa’, we seek to contribute to African society and the economy of Africa while further reinforcing and expanding our business foundations. Starting today through this project, we will go on to deliver the production of happiness for all to the people of Ghana, as well.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Toyota Tsusho COO for Africa Division, Shinichiro Otsuka said: “To contribute to the social and economic development of Ghana, we will promote the production of high-quality cars that are made in Ghana. In addition, by providing high-quality sales and after-sales service at our distributors, we will continuously support safety and secure lives and businesses of the people of Ghana.”
TTMG is the fifth vehicle production base of the Toyota Tsusho Group in Africa, after Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, and Rwanda, and is located in the industrial city of Tema, within the capital, Accra. The facility is the Toyota Tsusho Group’s first vehicle assembly plant in West Africa, with an annual production capacity of 1,300 units based on an investment of approximately US$7 million. It has approximately 50 employees and currently conducts SKD production of the Toyota Hilux pickup truck.
Also, the planned production of the Suzuki Swift compact car, a collaboration between Toyota and Suzuki in March 2019, is expected to strengthen and expand the alliance between Toyota Tsusho, which received the full transfer of sales and marketing operations in Africa from Toyota in January 2019 and Suzuki.
Going forward, in addition to engaging in the automobile sales business, Toyota Tsusho says it intends to tailor local production to market needs, further contributing to the development of the automobile industry in Africa.
The company donated the first domestically assembled Toyota Hilux pickup to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.