TrelleborgVibracoustic (TBVC) has entered into a majority owned Joint Venture with Ikhwezi Investment Holding in East London (RSA) to locally manufacture chassis bushings for Mercedes-Benz C and E class vehicles and support South Africa's leading supplier of automotive suspension systems, Foxtec-Ikhwezi. The company will be known as TrelleborgVibracoustic-Ikhwezi.
TBVC currently supplies several suspension mounts for the C and E class and has recently been nominated on the next generation C Class, which is scheduled to start production in 2014. The vehicles are assembled in Mercedes-Benz plants worldwide as well as locally in East London.
Foxtec-Ikhwezi, a JV between Ikhwezi and the German based company Otto Fuchs, is also based in East London and is a long standing producer of link arms for the Mercedes-Benz global network of assembly plants.
"We currently supply South Africa from our European locations. In line with our group strategy of global support and local supply this new business award seemed like an excellent opportunity to look for a more permanent solution in the region," says Axel Wersel, BA President for Chassis. "In addition the new JV provides us with a strong foothold in South Africa, an automotive market that is set to grow significantly over the next four years," adds Wersel.
TBVC, together with its local partner Ikhwezi, is investing around €3.4 million Euros in the new facility. The plant covers an area of 4000m2 and is scheduled to start production in 2013. It will initially employ 21 people increasing to around 55 once peak volumes are reached. Ikhwezi has a 30% share and will provide support services such as recruitment, finance and IT management. TrelleborgVibracoustic will have full product design and manufacturing responsibility.
Ikhwezi Investment Holdings is privately owned and listed in South Africa as a "Black Empowered Company". The group is focused on forming strategic alliances with international partners to facilitate the transfer of skills and technology to local stakeholders and thereby promote economic growth in South Africa. For more information visit www.ikhwezi.co.za.
TrelleborgVibracoustic is the worldwide market and technology leader for anti-vibration solutions in the global passenger car and commercial vehicle industry. Established as a joint venture between Freudenberg and Trelleborg in July 2012, the company generated sales of €1.4 billion in 2011. Over 8,000 employees at 38 sites manufacture products and deliver solutions for all automotive vibration technology applications. For more information visit www.tbvc.com.