Celebrating 60 years of Volkswagen in South Africa
In the 1950’s whilst the Saker Motor Corporation was becoming a major force in South African motoring, GK Lindsay became one of the first Volkswagen dealers in Johannesburg area, in 1951. On the 31 August of that year, the first Beetle rolled off the production line in Uitenhage; the People’s Car had come to South Africa and Lindsay Saker are very proud to be celebrating 60 years of heritage with Volkswagen. For the VW aficionado’s like us, here are the pioneering steps in Volkswagen’s journey in the South Africa:
1949 - 18 February
The official opening of South Africa Motor Assemblers and Distributors (SAMAD).
1951 - 31 August
The first Beetle is produced.
A controlling interest in the Company is bought by Volkswagen AG.
The Company is renamed Volkswagen of South Africa.
Volkswagen was one of the first companies to officially recognise a Black Trade Union and was also the first company in South Africa to appoint full time Shop Stewards even though trade unions were not recognised at the time.
Volkswagen of South Africa becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG.
The Volkswagen Golf is introduced.
The end of the Beetle era as the factory ceases production of this iconic vehicle.
Volkswagen qualifies the first black artisan in South Africa, a motor mechanic. Volkswagen then qualified the first black toolmaker in South Africa a month later.
Volkswagen is instrumental in getting the first black students enrolled at Port Elizabeth Technikon, pioneering the racial integration of tertiary institutions in South Africa.
The Volkswagen Community Trust, which is jointly administered and controlled by representatives from the trade union, employees and management of the company, is formed. This Trust administers Volkswagen of South Africa’s Corporate Social Investment commitments.
Volkswagen signs an extensive Recognition Agreement with the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) which includes detailed standards renouncing any advantage provided by apartheid laws, the continued payment of employees detained under Security or Emergency Laws, agreeing to the Protected Right of Strike and setting out detailed commitments on Employment Equity and Affirmative Action. This agreement was drawn up and signed well before the changes to the South African Labour Law were introduced during 1995/1996.
Volkswagen wins the South African Rally Manufacturer’s Championship.
President Nelson Mandela visits the Volkswagen of South Africa factory.
Jannie Habig, driving a third generation Golf, wins the South African Rally Driver’s Championship.
Volkswagen celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first South African Volkswagen, a Beetle, to leave the assembly line in Uitenhage.
The AutoPavilion is opened and the Technology Support Centre at Volkswagen of South Africa’s Service Centre is launched.
Volkswagen is the passenger market leader for the year of 2005.
Volkswagen Driving Academy is opened at the Kyalami racing circuit in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Volkswagen announces its sponsorship of First Division Premier League Soccer side Moroka Swallows.
BP Volkswagen Rally team celebrates winning the 2005 South African Rally Driver Championship.
Volkswagen is the passenger market leader for the year of 2006.
Citi celebrates its 22nd birthday with a facelift.
BP Volkswagen Rally team celebrates winning the 2006 South African Rally Driver Championship.
Volkswagen announces its ‘People for the Future’ initiative, with the Company investing more than R400 million in training and skills development between 2006 and 2010.
Guest of Honour President Thabo Mbeki officially opens the motor manufacturer’s new state-of-the-art Paint Shop.
Volkswagen is the passenger market leader for the year of 2007, the third year in succession.
Volkswagen of South Africa celebrates the production of 2.5 million cars, and becomes the exclusive title sponsor of ground-breaking South African band, Freshlyground.
Managing Director David Powels announces that Volkswagen of South Africa will export in excess of 40 000 vehicles in 2008 including a new export contract for 10 260 fifth generation Jettas to countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain and Ireland.
Volkswagen of South Africa is awarded a R12 billion contract to supply the Volkswagen Group with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) for the next five years.
Volkswagen Group South Africa is honoured with the Merseta Chairperson’s Award in recognition of the company’s efforts to train people with disabilities.
Three new state-of-the-art Production Training Centres – part of the new Production Academy – are officially opened at the Uitenhage car plant.
The BP Volkswagen rally team celebrates a historic victory at the Volkswagen Rally, not only by winning the event, but by claiming all three podium positions in the process in their BP Ultimate-powered S2000 Volkswagen Polos.
The last Citi Golf rolls off Volkswagen of South Africa’s production line in August 2009 and completes a journey around South Africa to bid the country a fond farewell.
The BP Volkswagen rally team clinches their fifth consecutive national rally title.
Volkswagen Group South Africa announces the commencement of a major worldwide Right Hand Drive export contract for the all New Polo to countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Learning Academy opens its fourth Production Academy at its Uitenhage plant
Volkswagen Group South Africa introduces the Polo Vivo as its new entry-level car in the AO segment.
The Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, opens the new Volkswagen Group South Africa R230million Parts and Accessories Distribution Centre in Centurion, Gauteng.
Volkswagen AG announces a R20 million investment announced into a “Love Life” Legacy Project in the Uitenhage region.
Volkswagen Group South Africa’s Learning Academy opens its fifth Production Academy – and the first at its PE Plant.