Morocco is solidifying its position as Africa’s largest car-manufacturing hub while preparing for the era of electric vehicles, British daily “The Financial Times (FT)” reported on Thursday.
Beyond the number of vehicles made in Morocco which continues to grow and most of which are sold in Europe, is the kingdom’s success in forcing the backward integration of its automotive supply chain that is important, notes The Financial Times, in a special report dedicated to investment in Morocco.
Beyond the ever-increasing number of vehicles manufactured in Morocco, most of which are sold in Europe, it is the Kingdom’s success in forcing the backward integration of its automotive supply chain that is important, notes The Financial Times, in a special report on investment in Morocco.
There are now more than 250 automotive suppliers, many of them subsidiaries of foreign companies, in the country, employing some 220,000 people, the newspaper adds.
Last year, Renault said it was sourcing more than 60% of parts for its vehicles, the bulk of which are exported, in Morocco. It has pledged to raise that ratio to 65%.
In 2010, Morocco produced fewer than 60,000 cars. Last year, despite interruptions to the supply chain during the Covid pandemic, production reached a record 465,000, neck and neck with Poland, according to CEIC, a data company. Eventually, the Government aims to produce up to 1 million cars a year.
“Now, it’s very much easier to produce a car in Morocco than it was 10 years ago,” Faouzi Annajah, co-founder of carmaker NamX, was quoted as saying. Not only does it have a competitive cluster of auto suppliers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), but it is also producing a steady stream of homegrown engineers, with 3,500 working in Casablanca alone, many of them women, he added.
The biggest breakthrough for the industry, however, came in 2012. That was when Renault started producing cars at a Tangier plant close to the Tanger Med industrial complex and a few miles from Spain which has a capacity of 400,000 vehicles, also benefits from tax breaks.
Four years ago, in 2019, Peugeot, now part of Stellantis, followed Renault’s lead. It opened a plant at a cost of nearly $600mn in Kenitra, near Rabat, with a capacity of 200,000 vehicles. Last November, Stellantis, which makes the Peugeot 208 at the plant, said it would invest a further €300mn to double production to 400,000, the publication goes on.
Aside from achieving further growth in local supply chains, the next challenge for the industry will be adapting quickly enough to changing regulatory conditions — particularly the EU’s ban on the sale of most internal combustion engine vehicles from 2035.
Renault said it would start to produce two-seater super-mini electric vehicles in Morocco this year. The Dacia brand, acquired by Renault in 1999, will also produce its next-generation Sandero, a 100 per cent battery electric vehicle, in the country.
Stellantis’s new line-up will offer small, low-cost automobiles based on its so-called “Smart Cars” platform aimed principally at emerging markets, including electric vehicles. It will also boost the production and assembly of electric quadricycles for the Citroën and Opel brands, reports the media.
And Morocco is now turning its attention to electric battery factories, concludes “The Financial Times”.