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‘Develop motor industry strategy’

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There is need to develop a local motor industry development policy that would guide the revival of the industry and lead to industrialisation, a Willowvale Mazda Motor Industry (WMMI) official said.

Production at WMMI has slumped to 800 cars a year from a peak of 8 000 in 1997 due to the influx of imported second hand cars.

The government has announced plans to ban the importation of second-hand vehicles older than five years in a bid to protect the local industry, but this has been met with resistance by ordinary citizens.

WMMI managing director Dawson Mareya said lack of an industrial policy had left the industry exposed as there was no protection and necessary support for the industry.

“There is a need to develop a Zimbabwean motor industry development policy to provide a roadmap for the rescucitation of this very important sector of the economy in order to drive industrialisation by stimulating component manufacture through increased capacity utilisation of the assembly plants,” said Mareya.

“This policy must include a phased approach to the total ban of grey imports of motor vehicles.
“We hope that the industrial policy being crafted by our parent ministry will address these challenges. Investors need a clear roadmap to make their investment decisions.”

Mareya said South Africa attracted big Japanese and European motor vehicles manufacturers over the past two decades due to their deliberate and clear policy on the motor industry.

He said ideally, in the interim, the importation of second-hand vehicles must be assigned to the respective franchise holders to ensure that vehicles receive a mandatory pre-shipment inspection to prevent the importation of vehicles that were ready for the scrap heap, fully supported by parts and service while fully accounted for with respect to import duty and VAT.

WMMI is struggling to break even as it currently produces an average of 100 units a month against a break-even point of 130 units a month.

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