The assembly plant of the SOVAC Production S.P.A. joint venture, made up of the Volkswagen Group and SOVAC, the Group’s importer in Algeria, closed 2018 with 53,000 cars assembled, which is three times more than in 2017 (17,015). Inaugurated in July 2017, last year the multibrand plant in Relizane, located 280 kilometres southwest of the capital Algiers, began assembling 11 new models by Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Group currently assembles 15 models in this plant, exclusively for the Algerian market: Audi A3 Sedan, A3 Sportback and Q2; SEAT Ibiza, Arona, Leon and Ateca; ŠKODA Fabia, Octavia and Rapid; and Volkswagen Polo, Golf, Tiguan and Passat, as well as the Volkswagen Caddy.
SEAT is leading the Volkswagen Group’s production project in Algeria, not only in terms of coordination, but also in volume. In 2018, SEAT models accounted for 41% of the production output in Relizane (21,825 units). In addition, SEAT took a step forward to strengthen its presence in this market by starting assembly of the Arona, Leon –in its CUPRA version as well– and Ateca in 2018, which joined the Ibiza, the first of the brand’s models to be assembled in the Relizane plant. In 2017, SEAT had 8,121 cars assembled in Algeria.
SEAT Vice-president for Production and Logistics Dr. Christian Vollmer emphasised that “the outcome of the first full year in Relizane is excellent. The launch of 11 models by Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen was a challenge, and it was successfully met thanks to the close collaboration among all the brands and SOVAC. This multibrand plant is an opportunity for the Volkswagen Group to expand its presence in Algeria and contribute to the development of the automotive industry in the country. For SEAT, it is also a clear sign of the globalisation strategy we are implementing.”
An expanding factory
The Relizane assembly plant has the capacity to produce up to 360 vehicles daily, and currently has a workforce of 813 people, after recruiting 224 new employees in 2018. In order to guarantee the same quality standards across the entire Volkswagen Group, experts from the different brands provided on-site training to the Algerian employees in the areas of Production, Logistics and Quality for the launch of the new models. Furthermore, mid-level and senior Algerian management participate in training programmes in Martorell.
The increase in the number of vehicles assembled in Algeria has more than tripled SEAT sales in this country. The brand concluded 2018 with 18,500 vehicle deliveries (2017: 5,100), a figure which makes Algeria the country where sales grew the most last year.
North Africa is a key geographical area in SEAT’s globalisation strategy. The Spanish company was designated in 2018 to lead the Volkswagen Group’s growth in this region and its mission is to coordinate the strategy of the Group and its brands, identify synergies and foster partnerships with other companies. This decision is framed within the Group’s strategy to decentralise its structure with the aim of gaining in speed and efficiency.