Automotive industry in Morocco.. great interest and great production capacity | economy

lace Moroccan Industry Minister Riad Mazour does not travel to his meetings in the Rabat region except with an electric car of Moroccan design that is produced only in the Kingdom, and according to those close to him, the minister wants to encourage citizens to use electric cars with this step.

At one of the sessions, the minister addressed the deputies in the second house of the parliament, saying: “If you have time, my car that is in the garage is an electric car that is produced only in Morocco and is popular all over the world. I bought one, and whoever wants to own, its price does not exceed 100 thousand dirhams” (about 9 dirhams). thousands of dollars).

The Kingdom of Morocco attaches great importance to the electric car manufacturing sector by providing numerous incentives to attract investment in this area, according to what the Minister of Industry and Trade told the Moroccan Parliament last week.

He pointed out that the current production capacity in the electric car sector in Morocco ranges between 40,000 and 50,000 cars produced annually, noting that current programs aim to raise that number to 120,000 cars within 3 years.

The production of electric cars in Morocco is a chapter in the long journey that the automotive industry has taken since the end of the fifties until today, and it culminated in Morocco becoming a continental and regional pioneer in this industry, so how did the story begin?

The journey began decades ago

The journey of the automotive industry in Morocco began in 1959 when the then state-owned Moroccan Automobile Construction Association (SOMACA) established the first assembly plant in Casablanca, a step that was followed by an increase in car import duties, leading to a sharp drop in imports.

In the 1960s, Moroccans only bought cars that were assembled on the assembly lines of the Somac factories. In 1962, the assembly of Fiat and then Simca cars began in Moroccan factories. During the year, 2,247 cars were produced, and Renault added them in 1966, so Savim 1967, Peugeot 1980 and Citroen 1986.

After that, a number of factories were opened for the production and assembly of vehicles of well-known companies such as “Renault”, “Peugeot” and “BYD”.

In the 1990s, Morocco began to liberalize its economy, and customs duties on cars were reduced, which led to an influx of used cars at low prices and of poor quality, and as a result, the number of used cars entering the country doubled, because in 1992 .reached about 70,000 cars older than 5 years compared to 35,000 in 1991.

This trend dealt a heavy blow to the company “Somaca” and its factories, because the production fell from 20,000 cars a year to 8,482 cars in 1995, which threatened it with its disappearance, along with all the subcontractor tissue.

In 1995, the Moroccan government signed a contract with Fiat to build the first economy car, the Fiat Uno, and at the same time increased customs duties on used cars.

Sokama was privatized in 2003 after the Moroccan state signed an agreement allowing Renault to become its main shareholder.

In March 2005, the “Renault” group took ownership of the Moroccan company, and the Somaca factory in Casablanca celebrated the production of its millionth car last November since Renault took over the majority of its shares.

The journey of the automotive industry in Morocco began in 1959 (Al-Jazeera)

dominance of two companies

Along with the Italian-American company Stellantis, Renault dominates Morocco’s automotive sector, but there are other European, Chinese and American companies that have invested in factories specializing in cables, batteries and aluminum parts over the past decade.

The launch of Tangier Auto City in 2012 and the establishment of the Atlantic Free Zone in Kenitra and the “Technopolis” Free Zone in Rabat-Salé were important milestones in the automotive sector in Morocco, as these commercial zones increasingly attracted foreign investment, giving a strong boost to the “Made in Morocco” brand.

Launch of the Industrial Acceleration Plan 2014-2020. in April 2014, it consolidated the achievements of this dynamic sector and initiated the development phase of automotive ecosystems.

Continental and regional leader

Today, Morocco is considered a continental and regional leader in the automotive industry thanks to the rapid growth of this sector over the past decades, as it has managed to establish its position as the first car manufacturer on the African continent, as a fabric, the national automotive sector consists of more than 250 auto parts suppliers and two car manufacturers , Renault and Stelantis.

Thanks to these two factories, the Kingdom produces cars that are exported to more than 70 international destinations, with a local integration rate of around 69%, according to official figures released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to Al Jazeera Net.

In addition, two electric cars from the Stellantis group are produced exclusively at their factory in Kenitra: “Citroen EMI” and “Opel Rox E”. In addition, “Renault” recently announced that in 2014 it will produce an electric car called “Mobilis”. its factory in Tangiers, starting next year. .

According to the same source, Morocco has a production capacity equivalent to 960,000 cars per year, 510,000 for Renault at its plants in Tangier and Casablanca, and 450,000 for Stelantis at its Kenitra plant, after the latter announced a doubling of its production capacity.

leadership factors

On the other hand, the Ministry of Industry and Trade attributes the efficient and rapid development of the national auto sector over the past two decades to a series of proactive industrial strategies, with several advantages enjoyed by Morocco, including:

  • The strategic position that makes the Kingdom one of the most important crossroads in the world that connects Africa, Europe and America.
  • A dynamic business climate characterized by political and economic stability.
  • Qualified human capital to keep pace with investments and create added value.
  • High-quality infrastructure, including industrial zones, ports, airports and highways.
  • Opening up to the global market with the signing of more than 50 free trade agreements that provide access to more than 1.3 billion consumers.
  • Financial and legislative support framework for investment projects (tax breaks, investment and training subsidies, etc.).
  • Cohesive and continuous industrial fabric based on highly efficient and competitive industrial systems.

For his part, economist Abu Al-Arab Abdel Nabi in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net believes that there is an essential and important factor of this boom represented in the political and economic will of the higher authorities in the country, which decided, according to the development vision, to invest in the automotive industry and engagement with all abilities and qualifications for the launch and success of this industrial sector.

Morocco / Rabat / Sanaa al-Quwaiti / one of the car factories in the city of Kenitra
Current production capacity in the electric car sector in Morocco ranges between 40 and 50 thousand cars per year (Al-Jazeera)

reflection on the economy

The rapid development of the automotive industry has had a positive impact on the national economy, creating a dynamic in investments, providing employment opportunities for young people, and providing Morocco with significant hard currency income.

According to the Ministry of Industry, exports of the automotive industry amounted to 83.78 billion dirhams (about 8 billion dollars) in 2021, an increase of 15% compared to 2020, and expectations show that it will reach 100 billion dirhams (about 9 billion dollars) as export volume by the end of 2022. Creation of more than 190,000 jobs since 2014.

Unstoppable ambition

Within a few years, Morocco managed to take third place in terms of competitiveness after India and China, but the ambition does not stop, according to the Moroccan Ministry of Industry and Trade, as the Kingdom aims to become the most competitive low-carbon car platform in the world, and the transition to electric mobility is a challenge and must be raised to ensure the sustainability of the sector and the creation of new jobs.

In this regard, the ministry says it is currently working on bringing an electric battery factory, which will put Morocco on the world map as a competitive platform for electric mobility.

As for the expert, Abu Al-Arab, he expects a promising future for this sector in a way that will allow Morocco to expand its production and export capacities by targeting new markets.

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