Volkswagen branches into Rwanda with car-sharing service
A new car assembly plant, car-sharing service and ride-hailing service devised by Volkswagen are being launched in Rwanda to advance the car giant’s Sub-Sahara strategy and boost the local economy…
Credit: Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen has demonstrated its commitment to mobility services by expanding its engagement in Africa to launch its ‘integrated mobility solution’ in Rwanda.
At the centre of the project are app-based car-sharing and ride-hailing offerings that take individual mobility to a broader share of the population. The project kicks off with community car-sharing – primarily aimed at companies in the capital Kigali. A ride-hailing service will follow later in 2018, with further mobility services planned for 2019. VW says that Rwanda is “the ideal market” for new mobility solutions because its people “very digitally-minded and tech-savvy”. Demand for mobility is growing and the present offerings can scarcely keep pace with these needs.
The German automaker is also launching a local assembly plant for the latest-generation Polo and Passat, with other models planned for the future. Initially it is planned to build up to 1,000 vehicles per year depending on demand and the success of the mobility fleet, with an annual production capacity of up to 5,000 units. VW expects to spend $20 million in Rwanda for phase one.
The plans are part of VW’s efforts to drive its Sub-Sahara strategy further forward with the start of production operations and market activities in Rwanda. The company intends to make a sustainable contribution to economic development in the region, creating up to 1,000 new skilled jobs and setting up a qualification and training center together with other German companies.
Thomas Schäfer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, said: “Rwanda has great potential. The country is young, modern and hungry for individual mobility. With a package specifically tailored to the region comprising local vehicle production, new vehicle business and innovative mobility services, we intend to harness the opportunities for growth and create new opportunities. Rwanda can become a blueprint for other African and emerging market countries.”
Also speaking at the launch was Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, who said: “Africa does not need to be a dumping ground for second-hand cars, or second-hand anything. In the long run, you end up paying a higher price anyway. If you can pay a high price for second hand, why not pay a high price for something new? It is a simple choice. Africans, Rwandans, we deserve better. This is one way of showing how we can afford it. For these and other reasons, this promising partnership with Volkswagen is off to a good start.”