12 April 2007
South Africa’s automotive component industry exported R30.3-billion worth of products in 2006, an increase of 32% as compared the previous year’s performance.
According to the National Association of Automotive Component Manufacturers (Naacam), catalytic converters continued to be the most exported vehicle part from South Africa, with sales increasing by 58.2% to R15.9-billion. They accounted for almost half of all automotive components exported in 2006.
“The fact that exports of automotive components continued to increase is an indication of the high level of capability and competitiveness of the local industry,” Naacam executive director Roger Pitot told Business Day last month. “We believe that the recent weakening of the rand will open up even more export opportunities in the year to come.”
Other parts to significantly increase exports during 2006 included engines (29.1%), silencers and exhausts (78.7%), car radios and sound systems (40.3%), radiators (65.9%), as well as axles (86.1%), specifically for heavy trucks.
“The wide range of parts supplied is a confirmation that we can manufacture most automotive components right here in South Africa,” Pitot said.
However, he added that the government urgently needed to address the trade deficit in the industry, which reached its worst levels – R32.3-billion – last year.
Business Day reported that a total of R89.8-billion worth of vehicles, components and parts were imported in 2006, while only R57.5-billion worth of vehicles, components and parts were exported.
According to Pitot, this followed deficits of R27.7-billion in 2005 and R17.6-billion in 2004.
Pitot told Business day that the only way to address the problem was for local vehicle assemblers and component manufacturers to look for new overseas markets, and for local assemblers to source more parts from local companies.