R3.5m-a-month boost for auto components supplier

At the Stateline Tubing plant in Burman Road in Port Elizabeth yesterday are, from left, Toyota SA technical engineer Thabo Mthethwa, Stateline Group chief executive Mark Gilbert, Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, Toyota SA purchasing specialist Jaco van der Westhuizen, Toyota SA logistics control department general manager Reshmee Saran and Toyota SA senior executive coordinator Hamaji Hisakaza
Picture: Supplied

Stateline Tubing plant secures major contract with Toyota SA

A contract bringing a R3.5-million investment into Port Elizabeth each month was cause for celebration at the Stateline Tubing plant in Deal Party yesterday.

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, along with senior executives from Toyota South Africa, visited the plant after Stateline secured a massive contract with the popular automotive manufacturer.

The contract, secured in August, names Stateline Tubing – part of the Stateline Pressed Metal Group (SPM) – as the supplier of fuel tank filler lines and door impact beams for the 90 000 vehicles manufactured annually at Toyota’s Durban plant.

“Both these components are deemed ‘safety critical’,” SPM executive director Mark Gaskin said.

“The manufacture of safety critical components within the automotive industry is very unique.

“It comprises specialised skilled labour and a stringent robotic assembly process.”

Gaskin said the contract was secured after a lengthy audit of the company’s manufacturing processes and capabilities.

“The opportunity that Toyota has given us has enabled us to broaden our customer base to include [manufacturers] from outside the Eastern Cape,” Gaskin said.

Trollip was also excited about the opportunity, particularly as he believed it would bring relief in the form of further job opportunities in the automotive sector.

“This company was able to secure the contract to continue providing these components that Sentech [provided previously],” Trollip said.

Stateline’s premises in Burman Road previously belonged to the Sentech automotive parts plant, but Trollip said it was really encouraging that Stateline was able to save 50 of the 75 jobs that would have been lost by Sentech’s departure at the end of last month.

“I’m very happy that we were able to save those 50 jobs, but what is interesting is that it appears other motor manufacturing companies are coming to look at this facility to see if it can produce similar components for them,” Trollip said.

“The great news is that we could probably reassimilate the 25 people who were retrenched, [while] people who were [voluntarily] retrenched during General Motors South Africa’s extraction from the city can be reskilled.

“It is really exciting that a massive company like Toyota has chosen to keep this facility going in the Bay and that the Bay is delivering quality goods to a quality company, [which] could even lead to other companies getting components from Stateline.”

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