After an almost 20-year standstill, the Malagasy car production has once again started. As in the old times, Karenjy produces their cars by manual labour.
The factory is located in Fianarantsoa in the southern highlands of Madagascar, about 420 kilometres south of the capital Antananarivo. In 1986, the former president Didier Ratsiraka initiated the car production under his presidency. Soon thereafter Karenjy became the most important employer in the region. Following Ratsiraka's fall in 1992, the highly successful car production came soon to an end. Between 1994 and 2009 the factory was closed.
Thereafter, the French development aid agency Le Relais Madagasikara resumed the production under the name Sotao SARL using still existing material and equipment which was left in the factory. According to an estimate of director Luc Ronssin, the material will allow the local mechanics to produce about 100 cars. At the moment there are 15 workers employed in the factory. The number is expected soon to rise up to 50.
Karenjy is the only national car producer in Madagascar. All cars are entirely hand-made. There is no mass production, as the factory has no assembly line. The angular, sturdy jeep-like cars are suitable for rough rides on typical Malagasy roads. There are three different car models: the diesel Mazana 4x4 (The Solid), available in sedan and convertible, the petrol Faoka 2x4 pick-up (The Transporter) and the Iraka (The Messanger) with rear-engine. All cars are available only in screaming colours, such as fire-red, bright-blue and grass-green. The production time of one car is about one month. The price varies between €5,000 and €7,000. The first customers have been mainly foreigners.
"All cars are 100% Vita Malagasy (Made in Madagascar), low in maintenance and rarely in need of repair", says Luc Ronssin who hopes for a new car boom in Fianarantsoa.
Le Relais Madagasikara
Ex factory Karenjy Ankofafahaly
Tel: +261 (0)75 510 04