A ZIMABWEAN-OWNED African car brand Mureza Auto Company, headquartered in South Africa is set to start assembling its vehicle, Prim8 (pronounced Primate) re-badged from Iran’s SAIPA Quick at Willowvale Motor Industries (WMI) assembly plant next year.

Mureza-Zimbabwe events co-ordinator and public relations officer Chidochemoyo Nemhara told NewsDay that the vehicle’s selling price will be US$13 500 and the auto company would aim to manufacture 100 cars per month.

“We are undoubtedly going to start assembling our vehicles named Prim8 (pictured) at W MI assembly next year. Our components are manufactured in Iran and South Africa, but Mureza’s ultimate objective is to design and manufacture vehicles for Africans. We are targeting to produce 100 units per month and the vehicles’ selling price will be US$13 500 each. Arrangements for Zimbabwe dollar purchases will be made,” she said.

The Prim8 features a 1,5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, producing 87 kW. As one would expect from a hatchback of its size, the vehicle is front-wheel drive. Best trim option for the local range will include keyless entry, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, SatNav, rear-view camera, parking sensors and air-conditioning.

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Motorists will also get electronic stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, a powered driver’s seat and two airbags.

Nemhara said although the current economic situation was unfavourable, Mureza’s efforts would help to create employment and promote investment.

“Of course, economic conditions are not favourable for some businesses to thrive, but establishing a plant here would in a way promote job creation for the locals and it’s a form of the much-needed investment. It means value creation within the market and it gives us ground to establish and train local labourforce as well as to promote regional trade,” she said.

Nemhara was also confident that their brand would rise to the limelight despite that the market is currently dominated by well-established international brands.

“We are not worried much about how our brand will perform on the market, but we aim to solve transport challenges in Africa by creating highly competitive and affordable vehicles that suit the continent’s conditions. That means reduction of grey imports and endorsement of local value chain. Just as the flag rises, eventually Mureza will rise,” she said.

The current vehicle assemblers in Zimbabwe are WMI, Quest Motors, Deven Engineering and AVM Africa.