What can you buy for R6bn? If property is your thing, the money will get you the world’s most expensive home — a 188-year-old mansion in the hills overlooking Nice, in the south of France. If you’re a car freak, you can afford nine Ferrari 250 GTOs. Built in 1963, only 39 were made, specifically for collectors. Alternatively, R6bn will buy you hundreds of robots, a world-class factory, state-of-the-art vehicle assembly lines and jobs for thousands of South Africans. German car makers Volkswagen and BMW have taken the third route. With the orderliness typical of their nation, both have recently announced the conclusion of R6bn investments in their SA subsidiaries. VWSA has begun to build the latest Polo and Vivo car models, and BMW SA is about to switch production from the 3-Series car, which has been built here since 1983, to the X3 sports utility vehicle (BMW prefers to classify it as a sports action vehicle). Both companies announced their investment plans in 2015. BMW always mean...

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