AFRICA’S AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR CONTINUES TO ATTRACT INVESTMENT; MAKES INCREASING CONTRIBUTION TO GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
Auto Africa Expo to be held in Johannesburg in October puts spotlight on Africa’s growing role as manufacturer of vehicles and supplier of components for global export.
Africa’s vital role in the global automotive trade will come under the spotlight at this year’s Auto Africa Expo. As the gateway for the continent’s motor sector, South Africa currently contributes 83% of Africa’s vehicle output, providing a logical platform for the distribution of automotive products, product development and manufacturing into the continent.
“The important relationship between the South Africa, Africa and the global automotive market will be one of the key focus areas at this year’s Auto Africa Expo. For African visitors to the expo, South Africa’s reputation to supply products reliably, at the required quality levels and at competitive prices is crucial in helping to facilitate additional distribution and manufacturing type agreements across the continent at highly competitive prices,” says Auto Africa exhibition manager Pula Dippenaar.
According to a report issued by Trade and Investment South Africa, a body set up by the country’s Department of Trade and industry (DTI) to promote the development of industries, total automotive exports out of South Africa in 2003 amounted to 137 000 vehicles, up from 124 724 in 2002.
South Africa is also a major exporter of commercial and light commercial vehicles into Africa. Between 2001 and 2003, exports of light commercial vehicles increased from 10 229 to 11 699 units and the country exports both left and right hand drive vehicles to 32 countries in Africa.
“Much of the industry’s development is off the back of efforts by DTI to make the country’s economy increasingly competitive on an international basis. The DTI has concentrated on lowering tariffs, transforming to an export orientated economy and providing a well managed, dynamic and modern manufacturing base for investors,” says Dippenaar.
“South Africa’s Motor Industry Development Plan (MIDP) has been recognised around the world as a successful and innovative national strategy to develop the automotive manufacturing industry and open up a domestic market in a new global environment. The MIDP has been extended until 2012, and will provide a further window and stable basis for future planning and investment decisions,” says Dippenaar.
“Globally, flexibility in manufacturing is considered an essential competitive advantage for fast model changes and for successful niche marketing. South Africa provides this at first world standards. The broader South African motor industry, including components suppliers, has transformed to become a global provider to the world’s most demanding markets,” she says.
Dippenaar says South Africa has steadily gained recognition as a competent manufacturer of high quality export components, including catalytic converters, engines, windscreens, leather trim and seats. “The industry’s reputation for its high-quality-low-cost production capabilities has resulted in enormous growth opportunities for international investors,” she says.
“As the gateway to the continent’s automotive business, Auto Africa 2004 will provide a focused platform for growth for foreign trade visitors looking to facilitate large scale business deals,” she says
The exhibition and related conferences will take place at the Expo Centre, Nasrec, Johannesburg from 26-31 October 2004 and spreads across 55,000m2 of space, comprising components and manufacturing; passenger and leisure vehicles; the garage equipment industry; the collision repair industry; and trucking and transport solutions. The growth in the event reflects widespread industry support for an exhibition that is regarded as competitive with the world’s leading shows in Paris, Frankfurt, Detroit and Tokyo.
International visitors to Auto Africa Expo 2004 will be able to make use of travel packages through an official travel agent, including airport collections, hotel accommodation, daily transfers, day-tours around Johannesburg and game excursions.