Motor industry views better future

Mike Whitfield, the President of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers in South Africa and Managing Director of the Nissan Group of Africa, painted an encouraging picture of the future of the motor industry when he was one of the keynote speakers at the CAR Conference last week. He spoke on the topic “The automotive industry in 2020 and beyond; moving with the times.’
Whitfield was also able to give an insight into the industry in Africa following a recent visit to Nigeria as a member of a delegation from the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM).
He stressed the importance of the local motor industry’s contribution to SA’s overall economy where it accounts for 7.5% of GDP and a massive 33.5% of the country’s manufacturing output. SA now ranks 21 in the world in terms of annual vehicle production, but the 650,000 units manufactured locally last year account for only 0,7% of total global output. The industry objective is to lift this to 1% by 2020.
Whitfield said the business environment currently is both tough and complex, with macro economic factors such as high interest rates, a weak rand and ongoing fluctuations in the fuel price. Other major influencers affecting the industry are rapid advances in technology, new players in the automotive industry, such as Uber, Google and Tesla, as well as changing consumer behaviour patterns.

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