Willowvale remains shut


WILLOWVALE Mazda Motor Industry (WMMI) has failed to open its Harare assembling plant due to stiff competition from imported vehicles and lack of supportive policies from government that promote the survival of the entity.

Report by Tarisai Mandizha

Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, WMMI managing director Dawson Mareya this week said as a result of the challenges the company had stopped assembling motor vehicles.

“Willowvale assembling plant has been closed since October last year and we don’t know when it will be reopening,” he said.

Mareya said the main challenge was that the market for motor vehicles had shrunk and local assembling companies had been put out of business.

He said the company was working on plans to resuscitate the plant, but the challenge was that its products were no longer finding ready takers.

“We are looking further and see if we can restart assembling as it is not competitive to the current market.”

He said the reduction in customs duty over the years had made WMMI products appear very uncompetitive since the current duty regime made it difficult for the local motor industry to survive.

“Over the past five years, we have been trying to articulate these issues. We have tried to lobby government but later stopped,” Mareya said.

“The statutory instrument made to stop cars older than five years from coming into the country was dropped within a month.”

He said in the 1990’s duty was almost 100% and this enabled the local assembly industry to thrive.

“The highest duty paid is less than 40%, so this doesn’t create any incentives for the motor industry to grow,” Mareya said.

The WMMI boss said for the motor industry to grow the country required protection to enable players to trade favourably. Most Zimbabweans have resorted to importing second hand vehicles mainly from Japan as they find it much cheaper compared to purchasing new vehicles locally.

On average, a second hand vehicle costs $5000.


  1. If pricing is right then people will buy, but if pricing is ridiculous then people will not buy, it is a simple as ABC 123. Instead of spending time lobbying to be protected. Find ways to cut costs.

    • WMMI you are just an assembling plant, what do you need protection for. Don’t you see how much cars sell for in other countries and how much money people in those countries make. How much do people in your country make on the average. Find a market, Zimbabwe isn’t your market right now. People need cars and shame on you to lose clients to compnies overseas and all you think is assembling cars. Have you ever thought of manufacturing cars? Stay close and get out of business if what you have is all you can offer. We are better off with the Japanese and British imports. Our duty is still higher than other countries. We still want to push it down and what will you say then? Good buy sir

  2. As the dictum goes “Nurse the baby, protect the child and free the adult”.

    The very reason why we had a Willogate scandal in the 1980s was because this entity was still being nursed as a baby and protected as a child by the government. This then led to vehilce shortages in the country, which encouraged corruption as Willovale could not cope with demand.

    Now, we talking 33 years down the line, they still cannot compete against foreign imports – when will they be able to stand on their own two feet, if they are still demanding protection after all these years?

    Its time they were FREED as an adult. Its the only way they can be quality manufacturers!!

  3. WMMI please make your prices affordable and see if people will not buy your cars. Where do you expect people to buy $50 000.00, $20 000.00 do you want people to be thieves to buy your cars $5 000.00 is affordable viva less duty viva. Garai makavhara coz munoda kuuraya vanhu nemaprices enyu.

  4. Another casualty of ZPF misrule. In a thriving economy you have financial companies falling over each other to give gainfully employed people and organisations affordable loans to buy things like cars.

  5. They should stop comparing new cars with 2nd hand cars,
    Compare apples with apples, How is it Hyundai is making it, How is VW making it, how is Toyota making it, how is Nissan making it?


  6. Willowvale should tell us how much duty the State is charging for importation of their kits. If that is reduced then probably vehicles will be cheaper. Dont forget VAT will be paid again for purchasing the vehicle. Its Govt taxes cripling assemblers Stupid!

  7. Thats the power of the free market forces at work here. The overpriced mazdas have no takers. I must highlight that quality-wise- the Mzdas are really good. But now the idea of pricing a tiny Mazda3 at up to +20K a-piece is just day-light robbery! Compare that Mazda 3 to a 2nd had CamryG that can be landed in Hre right now for below 7K- for the price of one little Mazda- one gets 3 ma Camries! To heck with the over-pricing. If yu want us to buy your cars- why not dangle ma friendly, affordable finance schemes huh?? Food for thought

  8. Howz VW, Chev, toyota, cherry, gwm, making brisk business in that same market. Willowvale should consider a new version of 323 and 1.3l rustler rather than assembling the expensive unnecessarily sporty and executive mazda 3 as their smallest car. Surely willowvale has failed to be responsive to market needs and all these other carmakers are capitalising on that gap. Also chi bt50 not good at all and heavy on fuel too. Apa Mareya is always crying govt protection what for to make the whole nation pay through the nose while he and his less than 200 man workforce cash in on that. I think mareya is the biggest joke around town or he simply should just leave the company to pursue farming. .he must just shape up or pack and go.

  9. Managing Director be innovetive, why always crying like a baby, people who can afford installments why not talk to them directly so they can buy your cars go to companies give them on hire purchase and if they do not pay, skip a month grab your vehicles and sell to other people, I bought a suit the other day from this Indian shop and the suit was going foe $650 and I paid $150 the rest I paid the following month, they are clever and their goods are selling fast and mean while you want protection from govt shame

    • in South Africa they sell cars on zero deposit but here you want cash of 20k plus tax where do u think we will get that money when im getting $350

  10. Its their own fault – I went to Amtec last year, looking for a basic B-Series single cab bakkie with a diesel engine. The saleslady told me they don’t make it at Willovale, but people are always asking for it. So what do they expect us to do? They assemble the WRONG CARS, and they don’t even approach banks to work out some financing deals. Lack of innovation and ideas, just a lot of crying and complaining!

  11. Just poor business model for the wrong market. Your pay your employees $200 and u expect them to buy a car going for $50 000!!! Nhai Engineer tell me is that possible??? What you dont know Engineer is that your own employees are your market. The less u pay them they less they will be interested in yo product. This is what most companies in Zim dont know. The produce products to sell to other companies’ employess coz theirs are lowly paid not knowing that those other companies are also lowly paying their employees; the end result is that there is no market for any product produced locally. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Zimbabwe under Mugabe yakadhakwa.

  12. Fact is WMMI premises should have been converted to Tobacco Auction Sheds 20 years ago. That way they would be more productive than they are in the hands of cry babies who sell their motor vehicles at prices that would pay for a helicopter elsewhere.

  13. I think Govt should consider handing over the premises for a vegetables or fresh produce marketplace. Business is brisk and rapidly growing kumusika wekuMBARE and the place is always heavily congested day in day out. Eng Mareya tosangana kuma $for10 bananas, automobile business is now beyond your capacity. That might sound funny but you’ll be liquid everyday from those penny transactions.

  14. Mureya anoda kunyebera aniko. Car duty is 85% not 40%. He shld know this kana ari mu car industry zveshuwa. Anyway u cannot buy a car for $40 000 cash. U shld talk to banks so that they provide funding so that ppl can pay for cars for 3 to 5 years instalments

  15. this may lead to tragic closure so WMMI and the subsequent loss of jobs it speaks of the state of our economy. Company closures everyday. Vanhu vanodzingwa mabasa vachaemdepi. Fix the problems , improve the economy and we the middle class will be able to buy new cars on hire purchase.

  16. WWWI think again. LWB sprinter van[BENZ] I can get it for $13000 all duties paid and u want $20000 for a mazda pick up?

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