• Hyundai Chief Executive Won Hee Lee said the Korean firm was drawn by Ethiopia’s impressive growth.
  • Passenger hatchback cars and trucks are some of the vehicles that will roll off the assembly line at the plant, which was established at a cost of half a billion Birr.
  • The Marathon Motor Engineering, Plc. Is a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and the renowned athlete Haile Gebreselassie.

On Thursday, Hyundai officially opened its first car assembly plant with a capacity to produce 10,000 vehicles in eight different models per year at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Hyundai Chief Executive Won Hee Lee said the Korean firm was drawn by Ethiopia’s growth which has emerged as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies in the last 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.

Hyundai Motor Company Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Won Hee Lee arrived in Addis Ababa this morning (February 21) for the Grand Inaugural Ceremony of Hyundai Marathon Motor Vehicle Assembly plant, which is the first car assembly plant in East Africa.Upon arrival at Bole International Airport, Mr. Won Hee Lee was warmly received by State Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano.

Passenger hatchback cars and trucks are some of the vehicles that will roll off the assembly line at the plant, which was established at a cost of half a billion Birr, located just outside of the capital.

Some of the cars will also be exported to the larger East Africa.

“This plant is big enough (to assemble) for Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan,” said Haile Gebrselassie, the former Olympian-turned businessman who has partnered with the South Korean firm.

The Marathon Motor Engineering, Plc. Is a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Company and the renowned athlete Haile Gebreselassie.

On Thursday, Hyundai officially opened its first car assembly plant with a capacity to produce 10,000 vehicles annually in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The plant is expected to create employment opportunities for 200 people initially, and has the possibility to create 1,000 jobs once it goes fully operational.

While second-hand vehicles dominate sales in the Horn of Africa country just like in most countries on the continent, Hyundai hopes locally-assembled cars could prove attractive given the cost of imports due to high taxes.

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.

Assemblers in the country include Chinese brands Geely, FAW and BYD, as well as Lifan.