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    A new truck assembly plant has been opened in Nairobi. Kenyan government officials said the?

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    A new truck assembly plant has been opened in Nairobi. Kenyan government officials said the plant would have an important effect on the country's whole economy.

    SYNOPSIS: The assembly plant is on the outskirts of Nairobi. It is operated by the giant American-based group, General Motors, and represents a growing involvement of major vehicle manufacturers in Kenya. The possibility of setting up vehicle assembly plants in Kenya was under investigation soon after independence in 1963, but the decisive step was the imposition in 1972 of a quota on the number of fully-assembled vehicles which could be imported. The measure was recommended by the World Bank to boost manufacturing industry in Kenya, and forced the major vehicle makers to reconsider their involvement in the country. Both British Leyland, which already has a plant in Kenya, and General Motors chose to assemble commercial vehicles rather than cars. Truck assembly requires fewer skilled workers and a lower initial investment. Although it has just been officially opened, the General Motors plant has also been operational for several months. More than 360 people are employed there, and they assemble more than three hundred trucks a month. General Motors has praised its kenyan workforce, saying they worked hard, responded well to training, and had a low level of absenteeism.

    A top company executive said the quality standards of the Kenyan plant met and often exceeded those established at much larger overseas factories. Before the nairobi factory could be fully productive a major training programme had to be undertaken.

    Bedford, Chevrolet and Isuzu trucks are being assembled, which General Motors says will provide a comprehensive range of light and medium commercial vehicles. The company said it would consider assembling cars in Kenya in a few years' time.

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