Chinese firm mulls opening a car assembly plant in Rwanda

By Esther Muhozi
On 16 November 2023 at 01:28

Dongfeng Motor, one of the pioneering car manufacturers in China, boasts a diverse range of car brands, including Vecia, Fengdu, Aeolus, Forthing, Voah, and Dongfeng. Through agreements with other factories, it also produces well-known brands like Honda, Nissan, Kia, and Peugeot-Citroen.

In August 2023, Dongfeng Motor revealed a notable achievement, announcing a first-quarter revenue exceeding $6 billion, marking a 2.9% increase compared to the same quarter in the previous year. In 2022, the company successfully sold 240,000 cars globally, attributing its success to the widespread popularity of its models.

The Rwandan market became a focal point for Dongfeng Motor in 2021, facilitated by the Carcarbaba company. Recognizing the growing automotive market in Rwanda alongside increasing purchasing power, the company viewed this as a promising opportunity for expansion.

Carcarbaba, acting as a dealer of Dongfeng Motor in Rwanda, introduced various brands to the local market, including the Forthing-T5EVO SUV, Dongfeng-Rich6 Pickup, and Aeolus-Huge Hybrid SUV.

John Mugabo, the Managing Director of Carcarbaba, emphasized the positive progress of their activities in Rwanda during an interview with IGIHE. He highlighted the popularity of their hybrid cars, which, due to tax exemptions, are not only affordable but also environmentally friendly.

Mugabo expressed satisfaction with the Rwandan market’s response, noting a significant increase in sales. He cited the preference for high-top cars, particularly the HUGE and T5 models, among Rwandans. The company’s strategy involves catering to diverse preferences, offering payment plans, and providing additional perks such as insurance, a TV, and free internet with a car purchase.

Looking ahead, Mugabo outlined ambitious plans for Dongfeng Motor in Rwanda. If the current positive trend continues, the company aims to establish a car assembly plant in the country. The goal is to produce between 200 and 300 cars annually, contributing to the domestic production initiative. This move is anticipated to further reduce prices and make the cars more accessible to Rwandans.

Mugabo expressed confidence in the future, envisioning not only an expanded presence in the East African region but also tapping into foreign markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and beyond.

The prospect of cars "Made in Rwanda" gaining traction in these markets is a key part of Dongfeng Motor’s long-term strategy.

The T5 EVO is a compact SUV, measuring 4595mm in length, 1865mm in width, and 1680mm in height, which makes it suitable for on and off-road driving.
Carcarbaba, acting as a dealer of Dongfeng Motor in Rwanda, introduced various brands to the local market.
DongFeng vehicles are currently sold in different countries.