South Africa’s automotive industry will be mapping the way to the “high” road at the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) conference to be held as part of the third South African Automotive Week (SAAW) to be held in Port Elizabeth in October.
“If we don’t nurture South Africa’s automotive industry, we will see it decline,” warns Alfred da Costa, chairperson of the SAAW Working Group.
The conference comes at a time of increasing competition from countries in the former Eastern Europe, Turkey, North Africa, China and India.
In the face of this, “we have to work hard at retaining and growing the industry,” says da Costa.
“The industry certainly faces challenges. Every time an original equipment manufacturer announces that they will be producing a new model locally we breathe a sigh of relief,” adds Roger Pitot, executive director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naacam).
SAAW is the only auto industry event in 2012 to be supported by all the main automotive organisations – Naacam, the AIDC, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).
One of the keynote speakers at the conference is Naamsa president and managing director of Volkswagen South Africa, David Powels.
The conference is expected to be attended by over 300 leading automotive executives and government policy decision-makers.
It is centred around a ten thousand square metre components industry expo.
“It is being held at a pivotal time in the South African industry’s history – with the Motor Industry Development Programme making way for the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which ushers a new era for the automotive sector,” says Lance Schultz of the AIDC Eastern Cape.
Other speakers at the “Keys to unlocking automotive growth … Securing the automotive sector’s high road” conference include strategist Clem Sunter, Dr Martin Zimmermann, managing director of Mercedes Benz South Africa, Naacam President Mpueleng Pooe and MIDP specialist, Dr Anthony Black.
Day one of the interactive conference will be facilitated by Jeremy Maggs. “The conference, which is built around the AIDC’s principle of ‘for industry by industry’ is heavily focussed on dynamic panel discussions which allow for rigorous debate and interaction from the floor,” says Schultz.
Chief Technical Advisor at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), Arthur David, Dr Raymond Patel of merSETA, Transnet CEO, Brian Molefe, Original Equipment manufacturer Procurement Council Chair, Stefan Haasbroek and Pitot will also contribute to the debate and direction.
Day 2 will consist primarily of two break-away streams focussing on Supplier Development and Supply Chain and Skills Development respectively.