Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries | Africa Business Directory

Zafco Trading

Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries
Harare, Zimbabwe

We are the leading distributors of an exciting range of motor vehicles in Southern Africa. The company was established in 1961 when Ford Motor Corporation of Canada imported a complete assembly plant to assemble the Ford range for the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It was forced to close down after UDI in 1965. The Industrial Development Corporation bought the company in 1967 for contractual assembly. Franchise holders were allocated foreign currency for the importation of motor vehicle kits, which the company then assembled on their behalf.


In 1986 the Government of Zimbabwe instituted reforms for the industry, under which franchises were to be held by assemblers under a vertical integration policy. Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries became the distributor of both passenger and commercial vehicles under government direction.

Lack of foreign currency restricted production, so the company sought a technical partner who could provide the product as well as transfer of technology. Mazda Motor Corporation of Japan was selected as the technical partner and a joint venture agreement was signed in 1989. 

Other parties to the strategic alliance were the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC) and Itochu Corporation, a Japanese Trading House. They became shareholders in the company, which became known as Mazda Motor Industries (Pvt) Ltd. The new company started to concentrate on the Mazda brand, achieving significant gains in productivity.

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