The move is expected to create jobs and bring back life to a community heavily affected by the closure of several large companies in recent years.
During the economic meltdown of the past decade, Mutare has seen Mutare Board and Paper Mills, PG Industries and Zimboard, among others, closing their doors and putting thousands out of work.
Many other companies in the city have scaled down their operations. But with the resurfacing of Quest Motors, there is a window of optimism for hundreds of unemployed people.
This will also be good news for customers as the investment is expected to promote the local motor industry, which suffered from the import of second-hand cars, mainly from Japan.
General Manager Tarik Adam confirmed that the project would see the first vehicles roll off the assembly line at the end of this month. The company will assemble the Chery Tiggo, a small SUV and JMC vehicles.
“Our aim is to roll out a selection of models over the next three years from the small passenger car to the minibus. We will build the pick-up range from single cab to double cab (4×4). Once that project is done we will move onto the three and five-tonne trucks,” Adam said.
He added that each model would involve $2 million worth of investment and there were plans for expansion over three years.
“We will start by producing about 180 units a month. We will also introduce local content of up to 30/40 percent into the brands we are building to support the downstream industries such as batteries, tyres, glass, upholstery, paints, solvents and sealants. That way we can help to stimulate our local industry,” he said.
He said it was crucial that the local industry received support from government in the form of putting an end to the importation of second-hand cars.
Plant Production Manager Tom Sarimana said: “We are working on the vehicles as we speak. We have employed some people and we are saying it is not the end. We are looking at our assembly line and we hope to employ more people.”
The Town Clerk, Obert Muzawazi, was upbeat about the investment. “We support the initiative as it will bring employment to our citizens. There should be a 100 percent local components so that everyone can benefit.”
Hebert Muusha, Chairman of the Manicaland Business Council, said: “We welcome the development and we hope that this will benefit all the people in Manicaland. We urge the government to assist such companies so that we resuscitate the manufacturing industry.”
Quest Motors Manufacturing employs 150 personnel at the Mutare plant and is hoping to double or triple that by the end of next year.
The company is in the process of building two new showrooms in the city.Post published in: Business