Rabat – President Trump nominated Michigan businessman David T. Fischer to be the next US ambassador to Morocco. Fischer is Chairman/CEO of The Suburban Collection, a large Troy, Michigan-based franchise of car dealerships in Michigan and California. He’s also an active philanthropist in the nation’s 10th largest state.
Michigan—in particular, Detroit—holds a special place in automotive manufacturing history in the United States. American automotive giants like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler represented the pinnacle of American industrial and manufacturing genius for decades. Their endurance is a testament to their ability to adapt to shifting consumer trends and to embrace manufacturing innovation. Fast forward to Morocco 2017. BMI Research Group recently ranked the Moroccan auto sector as the most attractive market in the MENA region for production opportunities. Both diplomats and business executives in Morocco can testify to the importance of the automotive sector for Morocco’s manufacturing export economy.
1. 100,000. The number of jobs in the automotive sector in Morocco. From the enormous Renault-Tangier plant in Melloussa to the 150-plus suppliers and subcontractor firms in the kingdom, the sector is constantly growing, particularly the supply chain sector. Recently, Italy’s auto component manufacturer Sogefi announced plans to build a 10,000 sq. meter factory near Tangier to manufacture engine filtration systems. US-based Lear Corporation, a leading global supplier of automotive seating systems and electrical distribution, has announced the opening of its fifth factory in Morocco.
2. 163,000. The number of new vehicle sales recorded in Morocco for 2016. A 25% increase from 2015. Renault’s Dacia line (a Romania-based subsidiary) is the top selling line of passenger vehicles in Morocco.
3 . Melloussa. Southeast of Tangier. Perhaps the kingdom’s “Motor City.” The Renault-Tangier auto assembly plant, the largest in Africa, opened near the town in 2012. In July, the plant celebrated production of its 1,000,000th vehicle. Ninety per cent of the automobiles manufactured at Melloussa are exported.
4. The Mercedes-Benz grand taxi. The iconic W123/240D model (manufactured between 1976-85) serves as the backbone for regional taxi service throughout the kingdom. The 3-litre 5-cylinder diesel models (seemingly) last forever thanks to the talents of Moroccan mechanics. The Mercedes grand taxi is the iconic symbol of travel in the remote regions of Morocco. Often even in comfort. Priceless.
5. DH 50 billion ($5 billion). The value of Morocco’s automotive exports.
6. 7,700. That’s the number of employees working at the Renault-Tangier auto plant in Melloussa. The 2016 announcement of the establishment of an automotive ecosystem by Renault and supply partners will mean that vehicle components will be 65% locally sourced by 2023.
7. Blue in Rabat. Red in Casablanca and Fes. Ocher in Marrakech. Light blue in Tangier. These are the colors of city cabs (petit taxis) in some of Morocco’s major cities.
8. Mercedes 600 Pullman. The state limousine of Morocco’s monarch. The 6,000-pound line of luxury vehicles required Mercedes to design a bigger engine: 6.3-litre V8. First produced in 1963.
9. €557 million. The investment PSA-Peugeot Citroen will make to build an automobile assembly plant near Kenitra (production to begin in 2019). The plant will have a planned capacity of 200,000 units a year.
10. $350. The average cost of getting one’s drivers license in Morocco; includes both the classroom instruction and behind the wheel practice.
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