New motor industry plan aims to boost local content to 60 per cent

South Africa is likely to adopt new plans for the country’s car industry in December, which aim to increase the local content of assembled cars to 60 per cent by 2035 from around 38 per cent now, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has said.

The new plan, which will come into effect in 2021, seeks to provide stability for one of the country’s main manufacturing sectors, where carmakers have invested billions upgrading factories to supply the export market.

The so-called auto masterplan aims to bolster competitiveness and expand vehicle production in South Africa to one per cent of global output. It marks the latest incentive package the government is offering to component manufacturers and carmakers.

Davies said the new plan would try to get more local companies involved in the making of vehicle parts and components.

“So that we are not just a footloose place where assembly can take place for the short term, but where there is an ecosystem that is grown in and around the auto sector,” he told Reuters in an interview.

A big boost to the industry?
Davies did not want to divulge details of the new plan before it went before cabinet, but said it would be anchored on the existing motor industry incentive package that ends in 2020.

The current programme, named the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), rewards increased vehicle output and refunds import duties.

B&M Analysts, a research consultancy that worked on the new incentive plan, said increasing local content in South African built cars to 60 per cent could give the motor industry a R135 billion boost.

National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) executive director Renai Moothilal said: “A lot of work has been done in trying to find an incentive package that assists the value chain to get to the 60 per cent localisation level.”

Hayley Eagle, who owns one of the first South African companies to supply parts to an OEM, said companies such as Ford appeared willing to include more local suppliers.

“There is no compromise for their quality standards, the risk is just so high. If you want to supply an OEM, you have to comply to their standards,” Eagle told Reuters.

Her company, Jamsco, supplies a pressed component bracket that fits on the dash panel of the Ford T6 Ranger.