The Volkswagen brand has established a "Sub-Saharan Africa” region to develop and strengthen its activities in the African market. Sub-Saharan Africa refers to the area of the African continent south of the Sahara. The new fourth region joins Volkswagen’s existing regions of North America, South America and China and is the next step in the Volkswagen brand’s strategy to position itself in focus areas. Sub-Sahara comprises 49 African states with a total population of some 920 million.
The region will be headed by Thomas Schäfer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa. Organizational details will be elaborated in the coming weeks.
Africa is still one of the blank spots on the Volkswagen map. There is, however, enormous potential in the region to meet the mobility needs of a burgeoning middle class. We will drive forward the development of these new markets in cooperation with various African governments—and gradually strengthen and expand the new Sub-Saharan Africa region.—Thomas Schäfer
The Volkswagen brand currently has three operations in the region: the company has been building cars in South Africa since 1951. Vehicle assembly began in Nigeria in 2015, with assembly in Kenya getting underway in December 2016.
In addition, Volkswagen plans to launch an integrated mobility concept in Rwanda at the end of this year. The concept provides for app-based mobility solutions such as car sharing and ride hailing. For this purpose, an environmentally compatible local vehicle production facility is to be established in the capital city Kigali to cover vehicle demand for the integrated mobility concept.
Schäfer began his career with Volkswagen AG in 2012 as Head of Group Production (Foreign plants). Prior to joining Volkswagen, he held senior management posts at Daimler AG in South Africa and Malaysia. Since February 2015, Thomas Schäfer has headed the Volkswagen Group South Africa.