The closure of several plants in South Africa will lead to a significant loss of volume in certain brands, including the Polo models that are intended for export markets, according to Volkswagen of South Africa spokesperson Bill Stephens.
This plant in Port Elizabeth exports Polos to right-hand drive markets such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore.
For eight days last month, General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and other carmakers shuttered their factories when 31,000 workers, who were asking a 15% pay increase, had gone on strike.The strike ended on Aug. 20 after carmakers agreed to increasing wages by 10%; however, the shutdown resulted to a production loss of about 17,000 cars.
The carmakers’ problems are far from over though as last Wednesday, car-component workers began an indefinite strike.
They are asking for a 15% pay increase, more than double the 6% that employers are offering. VW said that it “deeply regrets this unavoidable situation” as it has only started to recover from the eight-day strike, which “severely impacted customer deliveries.”
South Africa's car and car-parts industry, the country's biggest manufacturing exporter, accounts for about 6% of gross domestic product. Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors claim that their operations have so far not been affected by the strike. [via autonews - sub. required]