Willowvale Motor Industries
|Predecessor||Willowvale Motor Industries|
|Products||Mazda vehicles, Motor Vehicle Spares & Service|
|Owner||Government of Zimbabwe|
Willowvale Motor Industries is a company in Zimbabwe specialising the assembly and distribution of motor vehicles. The company offers a range of passenger and commercial vehicles in diesel and petrol models. The company serves customers through dealers in Zimbabwe. It was formerly known as Willowvale Motor Industries from its founding in 1967 to 1989.
The company assembles BAIC and Mazda vehicles.
Before becoming Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and focusing on Mazda, vehicle models that were assembled by Willowvale Motor Industries before 1989 include Toyota, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, Nissan (Datsun), Scania, Daihatsu, Isuzu, Renault, Bedford and Alfa Romeo.
In 1986, the government of Zimbabwe announced a new initiative for automobile production. At the same time, production had to be severely curtailed due to the lack of foreign exchange.
In 1989, following the scandal the company acquired Mazda Zimbabwe as a technical partner and the name was changed to Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries.
In the 1990s, WMMI employed around 2,000 people (1997) and produced up to 9,000 units per year.
From 2000, production dropped sharply as Zimbabwe went through an economic recession, hyperinflation and acute forex shortage that has lasted 2 decades. In the years 2000 and 2010, the production had to be interrupted for several months each. In 2017 the company announced that it would produce 3,000 units a year.
In November 2015, the company assumed its old name Willowvale Motor Industries. In early 2017, production was resumed in collaboration with BAIC and Astol Motors as part of the newly formed Beiqi Zimbabwe joint venture.
The GNW Duiker was a concept vehicle by WMI on the Salisbury Show in 1972. Around 80 percent of the components needed for the model came from local production. The chassis, the engine as well as the brake system came from a Renault. In a planned mass production, the car would have stood as a two-seater roadster, pickup and a station wagon. The maximum speed was specified at the Roadster with 137 km/h. Consumption, however, was at 17 kilometers per litre at 100km/h. The price for the production model should have been under 2,000 Rhodesian dollars. The name GNW was derived from GN Ward, the then head of the plant. Its production never happened because of a difficult currency situation in the country. The issue of sanctions against the country were also mentioned.
In 1988 the Willowgate Scandal came out revealing that government officials who were given preference in buying vehicles at the Willowvale Motor Industries at discounted prices and re-selling them at very inflated prices since there was a high demand due to the lack of foreign exchange.
- Motec Holdings (58%)
- Mazda Motor (25%)
- Itōchū (8%)
- Employee Share Fund (9%)
- Willowvale Motor Industries reopens •Over 5 000 jobs to be created •Firm to produce 3 000 units in 3 years, The Herald, Published: 28 MAR, 2017 , Retrieved: 27 Jan 2019
- Quarterly Economic Review: Rhodesia, Malawi, Ausgabe 2-1973 (1971).
- "Rhodesian sanctions casualties", in: X-ray: Current Affairs in Southern Africa, Bände 1-4, 1970