KLT Automotive and Tubular Products South Africa (KLT SA) has to increase production this year at its Hammanskraal plant, in Pretoria, from around 450 chassis frames a day, to 500 units a day, says KLT SA CEO Paul Leonard.
KLT SA supplies the Ford plant in Silverton, also in Pretoria, where the Ford Ranger bakkie and Everest sports-utility vehicle are made for the local and export markets.
Leonard says KLT SA opened its doors in South Africa in 2010, investing around R600-million in the local venture over the years, with around R3-million spent on corporate social investments, such as setting up a clinic at the plant.
Operations started in 2011. In 2012, the company produced around 250 chassis frames a day, employing 256 people.
Today the company operates on three shifts during the week, and two shifts on a Saturday, employing more than 900 people.
Business could experience a further boom next year, with Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) targeting expanded production of its popular Ranger and Everest models.
“There is a feasibility study to increase Ranger chassis frame production to more than 600 units a day, plus around 100 chassis frames for the Everest a day as well,” notes Leonard.
KLT SA is a member of the India-based KLT Group. The KLT Group is a tier-one, family-owned manufacturer of automotive products.
KLT SA is 30% black-owned, through a transaction completed this year.
The empowerment shareholders are the Kapela Group and its partner, the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust.
The Kapela group holds investments in BP Southern Africa and NEC XON, for example, explains chairperson Israel Skosana.
Skosana is a former executive director at Absa Bank, as well as a former chairperson of the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
“Kapela, formed in 2007, is a majority black-owned company, managed by business professionals,” says Skosana.
With FMCSA in the midst of competing to produce and export the new generation Ranger from 2022 onwards, KLT SA has offered, as part of its own business development, to set up a new press shop, a new toolroom, and to open a new assembly plant closer to the Silverton production site, in order to save on logistics costs.
“KLT is expanding its footprint and client base in Southern Africa,” explains Leonard. “We are also looking to diversify our business ventures in South Africa and Southern Africa.”
Part of this includes courting other vehicle manufacturers, and looking for various business opportunities outside the automotive sector.
“We’d also be keen to talk to Mahindra South Africa,” adds Leonard.
Mahindra & Mahindra South Africa (MMSA) this month initiated contract assembly of its Mahindra and Bolero bakkies in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Production volume will be 2 500 a year in a single shift, but can be increased to 4 000 units a year.
MMSA CEO Rajesh Gupta has indicated that the Indian manufacturer wants to grow local parts content on the South African assembled bakkies to 40%, with the chassis a component that could potentially be localised.
The KLT Group supplies chassis assemblies to the Mahindra operations in India.