Good Times for South Africa Auto Industry
GOOD TIMES FOR SA AUTO INDUSTRY FUELS BIGGER AND BETTER AUTO AFRICA 2004
New vehicle unveilings, industry awards, leading-edge conferences and largest exhibition ever point to SA's growing automotive reputation
More than 20 new vehicle models will be launched at Auto Africa 2004, the biennial Africa International Automotive Trade Exhibition and Conference, which this year will occupy a record 73,000m2 of exhibition space, 32% up on Auto Africa 2002.
Exhibition director Pula Dippenaar says Auto Africa 2004 is expected to attract more than 25,000 trade visitors from South Africa and upwards of 1,000 trade visitors from 40 countries, including significant trading partners such as Australia, India, United Kingdom and Italy and a growing contingent from the increasingly important African markets.
Dippenaar says the Auto Africa 2004 will be the largest show since its inception in 1996, and its growth mirrors the strong state of the local automotive industry. The event has been officially endorsed by the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) and the National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA).
In total, Dippenaar expects more than 300 exhibitors – ranging from passenger cars to commercial vehicles, components, allied industries and performance vehicles – at Auto Africa Expo 2004. While the number of exhibitors has not increased much on the 2002 total, Dippenaar says many exhibitors have taken significantly more space.
In addition to the products being exhibited, there will be a number of leisure-orientated activities, including a 4X4 track, a quad track, and a children's quad track.
The Car Conference, one of many conferences that take place at Auto Africa 2004, will focus on the theme "Affordability, Mobility and Growth", and has attracted a number of top level speakers, including Professor Garel Rhys (Director: Centre for Automotive Industry Research, University of Cardiff), Brand Pretorius (Chairman, McCarthy Motor Holdings), Ian Robertson (MAAMSA president and MD, BMW SA), and Bill Lynch (CEO, Imperial Holdings).
In addition, Auto Africa 2004 will host ten dealer conferences, including Toyota, Renault, General Motors and PAG, the NAACAM annual general meeting and the Automotive Industry Development Centre's four day conference.
A number of awards will also be made at Auto Africa 2004. They include the announcement of the Wesbank Car of the Year finalists and the Motoring Man of the Year.
Dippenaar says the record exhibitor presence is evidence of the growing importance of the South African and African markets. "South Africa and Auto Africa Expo 2004 serve as a gateway to the continent for many automotive manufacturers, and we expect this increased involvement to grow in the years ahead”.
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