Exports of automotive products in 2016 accounted for R171,1 billion, a further record, representing 15,6% of total South African exports. Component exports up 6.8% in 2016 and engines show strong growth.
South Africa, as Africa’s largest economy and its most integrated in terms of capital and trade flows, represents the blue chip jurisdiction in the region. Although South Africa offers investors the benefits of a country with first-world standards in business infrastructure, it also offers emerging market vibrancy and opportunity, the ideal formula for growth and profitability. The country, with its sound fundamentals, remains one of the most accessible, dynamic and well-regulated entry points to Africa’s 1,2 billion consumers.
The Automotive Export Manual 2017 – South Africa publication is an annual publication produced and compiled by the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC) – the recognised source of South African automotive trade data. The 2017 publication, as well as the previous 10 publications since 2007, provides a comprehensive guide on the export and import performance of the South African automotive industry, both under the previous Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) and the current Automotive Production Development Programme (APDP). The aim of the manual is to identify and report on the major automotive export destinations, the major countries of origin, the main automotive export trade blocs, the most important automotive products being exported and imported, the top growth markets and products, as well as the impact of the trade arrangements enjoyed by South Africa on automotive trade patterns. The information and analysis in the report were produced and compiled by Dr Norman Lamprecht on behalf of the Automotive Industry Export Council. The contributions and assistance by NAAMSA, NAACAM and the Department of Trade and Industry are acknowledged.
Data published in the Automotive Export Manual 2017 shows that catalytic converter exports made up 41.3% of all component exports from South Africa, by value, earning R21.9 billion, up from last year’s R20.3 billion. Total component exports from South African reached R53 billion in 2016, up from R49.6 billion in 2015.
Engine parts were South Africa’s second biggest component export product in 2016, at R3.9 billion – having jumped from R2.9 billion in 2012 – with tyres third, at R2.5 billion. Engines were the fourth biggest export product, up from R559 million in 2012, to R2.1 billion in 2016.
“The weak rand did not play a significant role in the gains made in 2016,” says National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers executive director Renai Moothilal in reports.
“I don’t think one single factor, such as currency, can be the conclusive reason for any annual export level changes. The contracts are also often foreign currency denominated and tend to be multiyear in nature. Given that a large number of components are exported for assembly into other global vehicle plants, the demand from those plants are also drivers of South Africa export levels,” said Moothilal in the report.
“The increase in the export of engines and engine parts over the last few years is related to engine production for the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Polo and the Ford Ranger, with the last two models linked to high-volume export programmes,” said Moothilal.
Two component categories that have seen a sharp drop in export volumes over the last five years are stitched leather seats and silencers and exhausts the report says. Stitched leather seat exports have dropped from R1.7 billion in 2012, to R768 million in 2016, with the German market cutting its sourcing from South Africa significantly.
Silencer and exhaust exports have also declined from R1.7 billion in 2012, to R618 million in 2016.