South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Company opened a 10,000-a-year vehicle capacity assembly plant in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, its first factory in East Africa.


Vehicles that will roll off the assembly line at the plant just outside of the capital include passenger hatchback cars and trucks.

Haile Gebrselassie, the former Olympian-turned businessman who has partnered with the South Korean firm said some of the cars will be exported to the region.


“This plant is big enough (to assemble) for Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan,” he said.


Ethiopia produces around 10,000 commercial and other vehicles a year for its home market. It imported more than 40,000 cars in 2017, automobile traders say. Hyundai Chief Executive Won Hee Lee said the Korean firm was drawn by Ethiopia’s growth, one of Africa’s fastest for more than a decade. “We have good opportunities in Ethiopia. We believe the economic growth in Ethiopia will be faster than any other country in middle Africa,” he told reporters at the inauguration ceremony. The plant is located in Nifas Silk district, Tulu Dimtu locality.

Hyundai Ethiopian Assembly plant is a joint venture with Marathon Motor Engineering whose owner is legendary long distance runner – Haile Gebreselassie. His company has been importing Hyundai vehicles since 2009.


The plant is said to have the capacity to assemble about 5000 Hyundai cars per year and will assemble eight types of models. It is expected to initially create employment for about 200 people and will grow to 1000 when the plant operates in full capacity.




Photo Credit: FBC