The South African automotive industry consists of a wide range of companies and organisations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, importation, exportation and selling of motor vehicles. It is one of the country’s largest economic sectors by revenue as it contributes 6.4% to the country’s GDP [4.0% manufacturing and 2.4% retail]. The industry accounts for 27.6% of the country’s manufacturing output. We are the country’s 5th largest exporting sector out of all 104 sectors and accounts 15.5% of total exports. A record 387 125 vehicles worth a record R148,0 billion, along with a record R53,7 billion in automotive components, were exported to 151 countries in 2019.
The Original Equipment Manufacturers building cars and bakkies, together with their suppliers and dealers, generate significant revenue for the SA economy and employs more than 112,500 people across its various tiers of activity [from component manufacturing to vehicle assembly]. Combined with the industry’s strong multiplier effect, the auto industry is responsible for more than half a million jobs across the SA economy’s formal sector.
Auto manufacturing depends on thousands of companies supplying parts, components, and materials, as well as a vast retail and vehicle maintenance network of dealers. No other industry in South Africa has such an expansive reach across the country, delivering economic benefits and creating jobs in so many different sectors. With its linkages throughout the economy, the country’s automotive industry is a turbo-charged engine for the manufacture and export of vehicles and automotive components to world markets. In South Africa, the automotive industry continues to reflect the power of combining good industrial policy and foreign investment and is not only the backbone of the industrialisation drive in South Africa but is also key to ensuring greater economic growth.