At the official opening of the Auto Africa show on Tuesday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mphalwa, expressed delight at the great growth in the South African automotive sector over the past ten years, especially with reference to the MIDP’s success.

At the official opening of the Auto Africa show on Tuesday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mphalwa, expressed delight at the great growth in the South African automotive sector over the past ten years, especially with reference to the MIDP’s success.

Providing some interesting details about the way in which the local motor industry has developed over the years, Mphalwa said that as recently as 2003, the South African industry was ranked at 20 in the world.

Citing the co-operation between government and labour, Mphalwa heralded the continued success of the Motor Industry Development Programme. Although still small on a global scale, automotive manufacturing and assembly is the leading industry in the local manufacturing sector, contributing 6,6 per cent to the country’s GDP. It is also responsible for about 84 per cent of the continent’s total vehicle output.

With multinationals showing increased interest in the local automotive industry’s potential, there is now improved integration into the global framework of parent companies. Component manufacturers and suppliers are feature more prominently in the global supply chains.

“The resilience of this sector in continuing its growth path and rising to the challenges of an ever demanding and competitive global environment is commendable, especially in the context of the increased strength of the rand,” Mphalwa said.

“On the positive side, the rand’s strength has contributed favourably towards the decline in inflation and the lowering of interest rates, which, in turn, have boosted domestic demand,” he added.

The range of incentives and support programmes offered by manufacturers, and the stable economic environment have contributed to the current high level of consumer confidence. The vehicle sales statistics released by NAAMSA for September indicated that the sector was well on its way to recording its best results since the ’80s.