South Africa is the target for British automotive companies seeking to break into new markets.
Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) will lead a trade mission to the South African Automotive Week trade show in early October and is already signing up companies for the event.
Although small in global terms (the country produces only 0.8 per cent of the 69 million units built last year) the South African automotive industry accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the African market for cars, trucks and vans.
It built about 620,000 vehicles of all categories last year and locally assembled products were exported to more than 100 countries.
The country is ranked 19th in the world, ahead of Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Sweden and Argentina.
Most of the world’s major vehicle producers, including BMW, Nissan, Daimler and Toyota, have assembly plants in South Africa and the industry accounts for nearly eight per cent of GDP.
The industry generated revenue (excluding fuel sales) amounted to £15 billion in 2006, employing a total of about 200,000 people
The SMMT said the last Automotive Week show in 2007 attracted nearly 4,000 visitors.
“Tier one projects are are backed by a new South African government-sponsored automotive development programme, with special focus on unique products that could bring additional skills and new manufacturing processes to the market,” the SMMT says.
“Opportunities are available for tier two and three companies to engage in technology agreements and joint ventures with South African companies.
“The South African automotive industry recognises that the UK has a vast amount of technical expertise in manufacturing and continually delivers high quality products.”
The SMMT plans to lead a small UK group to the show, to be held in Port Elizabeth from October 7-10, through Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants. UK Trade and Investment is also offering to assist UK companies wishing to attend.
Full details can be found on the SMMT website, www.smmt.co.uk
Separately, the SMMT is to stage a free on-line conference on the outlook for UK vehicle production and the implications for the industry and its suppliers.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, will discuss the latest issues, strategies and opportunities. AutoAnalysis director Ian Henry will give production forecasts for major vehicle makers and ideas about the effects on their suppliers.
“If you would like to register please e-mail us at email@example.com and the event is free, all we need are your name and phone number,” said Lua Cooper, products and services co-ordinator at the SMMT.
The online conference, which is open to non-SMMT members, is to be held on Wednesday and is expected to last for half an hour. It is the first in a series of SMMT industry conferences over the coming months.
Lua Cooper can be contacted on 02 073 449 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org