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May 20, 2008 - Riad Motors Holding, Morocco's leading family-owned importer and distributor of heavy trucks and utility cars, will open this year the biggest China-made vehicle assembly plant in North Africa, Riad said on Monday.

The Rabat government wants to make Morocco into a hub for the car industry, as it maximises its free trade agreements with the European Union and United States and several Arab countries.

"The company will invest 275 million dirhams ($37.41 million) in the assembly plant. The plant will go on stream by the end of June, 2008," it said in a statement.

The plant aims to produce 5,000 vehicles, mainly small trucks, per year to supply the Moroccan market before expanding output later to export to West Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Riad agreed deals with Chinese vehicle-maker Sinotruk, Mudan and Baw, to supply the assembly plant to be located in Settat region, near Casablanca -- Morocco's commercial capital.

Riad chief executive officer Abdelaziz Azzam and other vehicle industry officials said they believed the plant would be a breakthrough for Chinese vehicle industry in Morocco and North Africa.

"It would be the biggest assembly plant for Chinese vehicles in North Africa," said Azzam. Riad Motors is owned by the Riad Sahyoun family.

"It is part of a well-thought-out strategy by Chinese vehicle industrialists to win a foothold in Morocco and expand in Maghreb and other markets in Africa," said a senior Moroccan vehicle industry official, who did not want to be named.

From:China Daily
 
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