SA has only 18 months to make strong move to new-energy vehicles – Naamsa CEO

16th September 2022 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

If South Africa does not start “to shift and change” to support the increased local production of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) in the next 18 months, the future of the industry is “absolutely under very serious threat”, says Naamsa | The Automotive Business Council CEO Mikel Mabasa.

NEVs include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles. South Africa’s biggest new-vehicle export markets are the UK and Europe, with these centres set to ban internal combustion engine vehicle sales from 2030 onwards.

Only two vehicle manufacturers out of the seven in South Africa currently produce hybrids and plug-in hybrids in South Africa.

Speaking at the launch of the South African (SA) Auto Week in Johannesburg on September 1, Mabasa noted that South Africa was currently the twenty-first-biggest vehicle manufacturer in the world, with the other 20 markets rapidly positioning themselves to take their up their place in the global NEV manufacturing chain.

He said many of these markets had moved much faster than South Africa to develop policies around NEV sales and manufacturing.

South Africa is still working to finalise its NEV support policy.

Mabasa said the main aim of the SA Auto Week was for the event to act as an engagement platform on NEVs for government, the local automotive industry, trade unions and all other key stakeholders, in order to “preserve the manufacturing base in the country”.

“The main goal of the SA Auto Week is to accelerate and enhance our discussions around the future of the auto industry.”

The theme of the 2022 SA Auto Week is ‘Reimagining the Future Together | The Rise of the African Auto Industry: investing in new- energy vehicles, infrastructure, and people’.

The event will be hosted at the Kyalami convention centre in Johannesburg from 26 to 29 October.

The SA Auto Week is endorsed by the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, which will also host its general assembly during the occasion.

The business-to-business event will include the Naamsa Accelerator Awards, a captains of industry dinner, a driving carnival and a three-day conference, with the latter acting as the anchor event.

One of the other “critical topics” on the conference agenda was how to “derisk” the local automotive industry’s logistics chain, adds Mabasa.

This comes as the Durban port, which is by far the industry’s main import and export hub, experienced a number of stoppages, owing to riots and floods over the last 18 months.