The high level of vehicle and automotive component theft in South Africa is steering owners towards installing vehicle security products from steelwork manufacturer the George Stott Group (Geostott), thereby, increasing demand from the aftermarket sector.
According to the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey 2018/19, an estimated 83 000 motor vehicles were stolen in 2018/19.
Vehicle tracking company Tracker’s vehicle crime statistics for July 2019 to July 2020 highlight that vehicle theft remained on the same level as last year before the Level 5 lockdown, with experts indicating that vehicle theft is on the rise with the easing of lockdown restrictions.
“Our cost-effective, simple solutions greatly enhance vehicle security and, therefore, help concerned owners mitigate the risk of theft,” says Geostott sales and marketing manager Adnaan Gassiep, emphasising that even modern security systems are not enough to prevent vehicle and component theft.
“By using a physical barrier, an additional layer of protection is created to secure a car or truck,” he adds.
The Geostott range of vehicle security products include a caravan trailer lock, a container lock, an internal push lock, a spare wheel lock and a top entry gearlock. The uptake of these products is also influenced by the sale of new vehicles, as they form part of original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) designs or are available as optional extras.
However, the global Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a reduction in the volume of orders expected from the aftermarket and OEM sectors.
“The OEM fitment orders are consistent and are only affected by build volume adjustments made by the various OEMs, while other customers order on a replenishment basis in relation to their sales into the private sector. These orders vary based on marketing and criminal activity in the various regions.”
Geostott entered the automotive sector as part of its diversification growth strategy in 2017, acquiring George Stott Automotive (previously Diamond Components Manufacturing) and Diamond Lock Systems, which had an established product range approved for fitment on various vehicle platforms for aftermarket and OEM use.
The company’s automotive product range is manufactured in Industria, Johannesburg, using high-grade steels and comprise the latest locking systems designed to provide maximum protection and operational performance, explains Gassiep.
The ISO 9001 and IATF 1694 compliant manufacturing facility handles pressings, machining, manufacturing and assembly of the product range under a controlled quality management system to ensure conformity and consistency throughout the process.
While raw materials and components are sourced from key South African suppliers, certain components are sourced internationally as they are either not available or not produced to the required standard locally.
The production facility can produce about 7 500 units a month in a single shift, says Gassiep, adding that there is significant capacity to expand owing to existing equipment capabilities.
“Geostott offers the benefit of continuous design development, manufacturing improvements and exceptional operations capability developed through our vast experience in steel manufacturing.”
Ease of fitment across a range of vehicle models, minimal structural changes, if at all, to the original vehicle platform and longevity of components are all key elements of the design criteria that complement the primary security objective.
Gassiep says the consistency of supply, time to delivery and limited exchange rate implications are all key benefits to using local vendors, especially considering the economic impact of Covid-19.
“However, it is essential that product quality and performance is maintained and ensured so vendor validation remains a key driver in the selection and appointment process,” he advises.
Employing 23 people, Geostott’s automotive division exports its range of vehicle security products to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, The Far East and South America, which face similar circumstances as South Africa regarding vehicle and component security and similar vehicle models sold by OEMs.