The 10 000th locally assembled Pik Up has rolled off the line at the Mahindra semi-knockdown line in Durban.

This follows four years after the local arm of the Indian manufacturer opened its assembly facility at the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone.

“It is a moment of pride to see the Pik Up roll off the assembly line, knowing that it has become a much-loved part of the South African bakkie market,” says Mahindra & Mahindra automotive division international operations head Sachin Arolkar.

“We are fully committed to make South Africa our second home outside of India.

“We look forward to further developing this facility to increase production volumes with higher local content, and to also expand our reach into more countries in Africa.”

Mahindra South Africa (SA) opened the assembly facility in May, 2018, with a single assembly line and limited vehicle line-up.

Since then, the facility has reached peak single-shift production and added several additional models, special editions and customised vehicles, which it builds in partnership with the team at the Mahindra Special Fitment Centre in Gauteng.

“This is a significant milestone for Mahindra, our team and our partners,” says Mahindra SA CEO Rajesh Gupta.

“The past four years have been tough with the Covid-19 pandemic, riots in KwaZulu-Natal, the recent floods that ravaged this province and the ongoing challenge with components and global shipping.”

“The facility has enabled us to adapt to market needs and to serve our bakkie customers faster,” adds Gupta.

“For instance, our special Farmer’s Edition sold out within days of its launch and our Karoo and new Karoo Dusk, Dawn and Storm models are now available, thanks largely to the local assembly facility.”

Mahindra and its assembly partner, AIH Logistics, build a near complete range of Pik Up models, including the popular Karoo and specialised models such as the Pik Up ambulance.

Mahindra South Africa reached a new sales benchmark in the first quarter of the year when it averaged sales of more than 1 000 units a month, with the Pik Up leading the charge for the commercial vehicle division.

Mahindra South Africa says demand for the Pik Up “far outstrips supply”, noting that it will soon expand production to help shorten waiting lists.