World acclaimed athlete Haile Gebreselassie is poised to set up a Hyundai assembly plant in Ethiopia. The world marathon record holder has been importing Hyunda cars, both small and large ones, for over a year now. He is currently the sole importer of the South Korean made vehicles in Ethiopia.
Marathon Motors Engineering, a joint venture company the track star co-founded a year ago with a 10 million birr capital, is presently building a seven-storey structure that will incorporate a showroom for Hyundai products. The facility will also have spare-part shops and multi-purposes offices, according to Haile.
The building project is taking place at a 2000 sq.m. plot Marathon Motors received from the Addis Ababa City Administration on a lease basis. The project site is located on the hills of Yeka around Megenagna.
After being engaged in the import, the athlete is now on his way to establish a Hyundai assembly plant, for which the South Korean car maker is pushing, according to Haile.
“Assembling the cars here is more feasible in many aspects, including a lower tax rate and job creation for local citizens,” the athlete said. “And we are now going for it.”
“The world’s finest” athlete did not say exactly when he will embark upon the assembly plant project but noted that “that is the way forward.”
The number of companies engaged in car assembly venture in the country is slowly picking up, with more entrants on the pipeline.
Haile, who has long become one of the influential businesspersons in the country, is expected to join the rather infant industry in Ethiopia in the coming years.
By Hayal Alemayehu