Mkhize and a delegation from Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal and Ethekwini municipality are expected to meet with Toyota Motor Corporation, the world's largest automotive manufacturer - at its headquarters in Japan.
They will also meet officials from Hyundai and KIA Motors in South Korea.
Mkhize said the automotive industry was the major employer in the province and made a substantial contribution to personal incomes.
The automotive industry represents the third largest sector in the South African economy and is rated the leading manufacturing sector.
"This industry has become the cornerstone of the KZN economy and is steadily improving its competitiveness and ability to supply quality vehicles at competitive process," said Mkhize.
However, he also noted that while the impact on employment was positive the pressure to achieve international competitiveness did not allow for rapid employment growth at this stage.
He said there were prospects that Hyundai was considering establishing a plant in South Africa and preferably in KwaZulu-Natal.
"With our visit we are hoping to conclude this deal, we are certain that it will do only good for our province's economy.
"Vehicle manufacturing in KZN is dominated by Toyota through their plant in eThekwini. Toyota has invested close to R5,8-billion in our province in the past years and employs approximately 5 000 people," said Mkhize.
He said the industry needed more support at local level in terms of logistics and infrastructure to improve the import and export handling processes. - BuaNews.