CAIRO: Al Futtaim Group plans to build a Toyota assembly line, making it the first in the Egyptian market, an official said Tuesday.
Robert Willett, the new CEO of Al Futtaim Group — the Dubai-based company which owns the rights to the Toyota Egypt Group, the sole distributor of Toyota in the country — said that the group and its partners are expecting the line to start production in 2012.
The line is set to produce 3,000 cars a year, Willet told Daily News Egypt.
Al Futtaim Group’s companies and business interests span across four major industries including automotive, retail, real estate and finance.
In addition to Toyota, Al Futtaim’s automotive arm owns the Nile Trade and Engineering Company and the Futtaimisr Trading Company, the sole distributors of Honda cars and motorcycles in Egypt.
“This establishment of an integrated assembly line for Toyota in Egypt is very important to us and shows the commitment of the Futtaim Group and its partners to expand its investments in the Egyptian market,” he said.
“It is a testament to our relationship with the Egyptian consumer, which has extended over the last three decades,” he added.
Willett added that the cars produced by the factory will be fully targeted towards the Egyptian market, providing hundreds of jobs for Egyptian citizens and maintaining Toyota’s highest manufacturing standards. The factory is set to produce smaller economical cars following the global trend in manufacturing.
According to Willett, Toyota is in the process of gathering and preparing the technical and administrative cadres necessary for this big plant.
Willett explained that investing in the manufacture of cars is a long-term investment, with the need to plan accurate and permanent follow-ups, to ensure continuity and quality and to ensure that supply chains maintain the standards.
Egyptian consumers have confidence in the Toyota brand, Willet added, and that the market has all the experience and skills to build the factory.
He lauded the performance of both the Honda and Toyota brands saying that they have been largely satisfactory, and that Al Futtaim Group has plans to raise level of sales during the coming period.
Al Futtaim has invested LE 8 billion in the Cairo Festival City project alone, which spans over 3 million sqm and features indoor-outdoor retail spaces, entertainment resort and festival center, luxury residential communities, prime office space, internationally renowned hotels, the American International School and an automotive park.
International brands have signed on, such as Marks & Spencer and IKEA.
“I’m surprised that there are not enough investors in the country but at the same time I am glad we are here to take advantage of the investment opportunities and the potential Egypt has,” Willett commented.
“Al-Futtaim Group views the Egyptian market as one of the most promising in the region, in terms of opportunities for Arab and foreign investors. Egypt has emerged among the top emerging markets in terms of growth rates and economic opportunities, especially during the past few years,” he said.
“The Egyptian government has provided a suitable climate for investors to come to Egypt and start new projects providing more employment opportunities,” he concluded.