Electric cars and golf carts looks likely to be assembled soon in Fiji with a promise of jobs for many local people.
A Korean car manufacturing company, CT&T Co Ltd is now seeking a local joint venture partner to set up a car assembly plant in Fiji, a first for the country.
In an advertisement in the media recently, the company has called for expressions of interest from local investors and businesses interested in a joint venture partnership “to assemble and market electric cars and golf carts for domestic and Pacific Islands markets”.
In May, Fijilive.com/business reported that on his way back to Fiji from Dubai, interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama visited the company, CT&T Co Ltd’s car assembly plant in Dangjin, South Korea.
CT&T Co Ltd’s president and CEO Young Gi Lee expressed his interest to Bainimarama to set up a car assemble plant in Fiji
Today, media relations, trade and investing consulting firm Public Relations Fiji Ltd’s chief executive officer Nirmal Singh, acting on the Korean company’s behalf in Fiji, said he was seeking a joint venture partner who would suit the needs of the Korean partner.
“When that happens, we will liaise further to discuss the details with the successful company in Fiji.”
The expression of interest closes July end and Singh said that already interest has been shown by some major local companies.
“I am liaising with them at the moment and asking them to submit their company profiles. By July end we should be able to select a preferred JV partner in Fiji.”
Singh said the local JV partner would need to provide a building and should have some knowhow for the car assembly while the Korean partner will provide all the technical assistance and other necessary support in order to start the assembly plant here.
According to Singh, there is major tourism development in Fiji and some of the Pacific Island Countries and many of the resorts were getting very environmental conscious.
“These products (cars and golf carts) are environmentally friendly. They run on charged batteries. With the first charge, the car runs for about 50kms. So there is an excellent potential for these types of products for the PICs,” Singh said.
Most resorts in Fiji already use electric cars and golf carts within their premises, he pointed out, adding that some resorts like the Mariott, the Natadola Bay Resort and Laucala Island resort (in Taveuni) are in the process of opening and would likely need such products.
“I think the potential is excellent.”
On how much is expected to be invested in setting up the assembly plant, Singh said that this would be decided between the JV partners once a new partner is chosen.
“Then we will discuss the scope and size of the assembly here and based on that we will then determine what would be the actual investment needed to start an assembly plant here.”
Asked how many cars would be assembled here, Singh said that would depend on the market demand in the PICs.
“We expect around 500 to 1000 cars but we will have to detail what is required in the PIC market first and then decide the size of the production.”
“But it would definitely create jobs - that is another thing.”
Singh said a car assembly plant was something new for Fiji.
Further, the electric vehicles would save fuel – there won’t be any fuel use so it would be entirely green energy, he added.
“This is something that the government has been focusing on. And the Korean company fits in very well with what the Government wants to do here with green energy.”