ZF starts production in East London, South Africa

ZF Lemförder SA (PTY) Ltd opened a new plant in East London in May 2019. Only nine months after the nomination, the new Plant commenced production of front and rear axles for its customer, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

“We are expanding our global footprint by opening our new plant in East London. Additionally we are strengthening the relationship with one of our strategic customers and with the region,” states Dr. Peter Holdmann, Head of ZF’s Car Chassis Technology Division.

Proximity to international customers is of great significance to the ZF Group to ensure a just-in-sequence supply chain. Following the ‘local for local’ principle, ZF will continue to consistently expand its global market presence. As a new supplier in the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), ZF Friedrichshafen AG will contribute to the growth of the automotive industry in the region as well as its own market presence.

ZF Group is a global supplier

At the newly established East London facility, ZF currently employs 200 people. The new plant has a production capacity of up to 150 000 axle sets per year. The chassis, including all actuators and axle systems, will continue to play a central role in the safety, comfort and efficiency of vehicles in the future. In South Africa, ZF is present in five locations: Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and East London. With 460 employees, the company achieved sales of €175 million in 2018.

Strengthening partnership with Mercedes-Benz South Africa
Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) is proud to announce its partnership with global technology company, ZF Friedrichshafen AG in the region. Based on a project called Vertical Integration, ZF supplies MBSA with front and rear axle modules. As a leader in the automotive industry, Mercedes-Benz constantly works towards the contracting of suppliers that will contribute significantly to the implementation of the company’s strategy of value creation, quality and innovation.

ZF has recently celebrated the manufacture of its 500 000th AKC (Active Kinematics Control), an active rear-axle control system. ZF has reached the half-million mark in just under six years from start of production. The AKC rear-axle control system provides meaningful advantages, especially in critical driving situations and during braking

“Through the reduction of our own vertical integration, the company seeks to further contribute to the creation of jobs in the supply chain industry, increase transformation efforts and ensure long term sustainability of the next generation of vehicles at MBSA,” said CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Manufacturing, Andreas Engling.

It is a Daimler plant standard to increase production capacity and flexibility in order to achieve higher volumes in a shortened space of time. The new project will allow the Mercedes-Benz East London Plant to increase volume outputs, optimise the assembly line and achieve commercial synergies. As with all other Daimler plants, axle assemblies are to be externally supplied by 2020. Through a rigorous commercial process, ZF was nominated as the axle assembly supplier in March 2018.