Willowvale Mazda Industry complex

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Industrial studies:Willowvale Mazda Industry

  • Willowvale Mazda Industry is part of the assembly industries

Assembly Industries

  • These are industries which bring together parts from different other industries to make a new product.
  • Examples include car assembly, bicycle manufacture, radio and TV making and the production of clocks and watches among others.
  • The location of such industries depends on where the parts to be assembled are coming from but generally small-scale assembly industries locate at markets where demand is high and where there is a large pool of skilled labour.
  • For larger ones like car assembly, markets may be overridden by the land and transport factors in determining their location.
  • In Zimbabwe, small-scale assembly industries like WRS radios and Philips TV are located in Bulawayo.

The car assembly industry

  • The car assembly industry is unique in that it demonstrates internationalization and globalization of economic needs and necessity.
  • To manufacture cars, many different parts have first to be made in other industries all coming from different raw materials.
  • These parts are then brought together at one site where they are put together (assembled) to produce a motor car.
  • There are too many car assembly plants and models of vehicles manufactured in the world.
  • This is centrally located in Harare‚Äôs Southerton industrial area, this industry has typical characteristics and problems faced by industries in third world countries.

The site was chosen because of the following locational advantages:

  • Large land for building the assembly lines and parking vehicles from these lines.
  • Large labour force from surrounding suburbs.
  • Large market in Harare.
  • Excellent rail and road transport to bring in kits and distribute vehicles to the market in all parts of the country.
  • Availability of power from the national grid.
  • Availability of many engineering firms making some of the required components.

In terms of characteristics, the industry has joint ownership between the government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Japanese Mazda parent company.

It is facing problems typical of many developing countries such as:

    1. Poor local markets.
    2. Low levels of production.
    3. Lack of foreign currency to buy spares for back up services.
    4. Lack of spares themselves.
    5. Stiff competition from established firms elsewhere.
    6. Low import duties and tariffs
    7. Lack of local vehicle finance schemes
    8. Chaotic fiscal policy
    9. Lack of skilled labour
    10. Decreased/Depressed demand for new motor vehicles forcing capacity to fall below viable level
    11. The widespread usage of the internet allowing people to import their own vehicles with ease
    12. Government defaulting on its purchases


  • Willowvale Mazda industry has not been operating at all for the past 5 years
  • This was due to economic decline and some of the problems outlined above
  • On Monday 27 March the Willowvale Mazda Industry reopened its door and its not yet clear if this re-opening will be successful
  • This was done with the patnership of Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC which is China’s fifth largest car manufacturer), Willowvale Mazda Industies and Astol Motors
  • The new entity is known as Beiqi Zimbabwe
  • Beiqi will procure car kits from China while Willowvale Madza Industries will assemble them
  • Astol Motors and Amtec will be responsible for the sale of these vehicles
  • Pick ups, sedans and SUVs will be assembled

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page