The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has on Monday said that the new vehicle manufacturing and exporting industry was continuing to contribute positively to the country’s economy.
Towards the end of last year, Naamsa commissioned independent research to determine the industry’s social and economic value to South Africa.
First-round results confirmed that the auto industry remained fundamentally important to South Africa’s socio-economic prosperity, growth and development.
Commenting on the current difficult domestic trading environment confronting the automotive industry, Naamsa president Mike Whitfield said the long-term future of the automotive industry would depend on the goodwill and cooperation by all auto industry stakeholders.
Whitfield, in a statement, said it was important to acknowledge the role of the department of trade and industry (dti) which had provided vehicle manufacturers with long-term policy certainty.
He said the dti had contributed to capital investment of more than R28 billion by vehicle and component manufacturers over the past four years.
A total of 115 000 high skills level employees were gainfully employed in component and vehicle production in South Africa whilst total industry employment, including the retail, distribution, servicing and repair sectors, had been determined at 496 000 in 2015.
The industry’s linkages with other sectors had created hundreds of thousands of additional employment opportunities.
The broader automotive industry’s contribution to GDP was currently 7.5% and vehicle and component production accounted for 33.5% of South Africa’s manufacturing output.
Exports of automotive products in 2015 accounted for R151.5 billion, representing 14.6% of total exports.
Whitfield said the number of vehicles exported in 2015, to well over 100 countries internationally, was 333 802 units and this in turn had contributed to a first-ever positive trade balance of R5.6 billion.
“The performance of the industry in recent years required ongoing cooperation throughout the automotive value chain so as to further enhance the industry’s social and economic contribution to South Africa, particularly for the benefit of the industry’s employees,” Whitfield said.
– African News Agency (ANA)