Making South Africa's Auto industry's success story an enduring one

A new wave of investments is coming into South Africa’s automotive industry. Toyota SA would be investing approximately $33.2 million in a parts distribution warehouse and a new assembly line in the eastern coastal city of Durban. German auto component group Friedrich Boysen GmbH is putting $16.4 million in a new 10,000 sq. metre plant. BMW will be introducing a third shift at its plant, Mercedes Benz SA has started recruiting for 600 new positions in readiness for the production of its C-class brand in the country. Beijing Automotive Works wants to stake $17.9 million in an assembly plant that will service the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, and another Chinese company is planning to build a truck plant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape.

The news could not have come at a better time. The industry is recovering from a workers strike between August and September last year which hurt production and export of vehicles. The automotive and components industry accounts for 30 percent of South Africa’s total manufacturing output, according to Johan van Zyl, head of the National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa. The automotive industry is one of South Africa’s most important, contributing at least 6 percent to the country’s GDP and accounting for almost 12 percent of its manufacturing exports.