Mobility is at the core of modern civilisation, and the way people and goods move impacts many aspects of life. The automotive industry plays a unique role in bringing together most of the major scientific and technological advancements globally, which is critical to global automotive multinational corporations’ growth and performance. The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, however, has challenged traditional models of mobility, and highlighted the need for innovation and agility. Smarter mobility solutions have not only been influenced by the pandemic, but also by the social and environmental shifts currently being witnessed by the industry. The role of innovation in the future of the automotive industry is making mobility increasingly smart and sustainable. Effectively leveraging technology and innovation will shape the future of mobility. At this point in time, with the industry in a recovery mode, OEMs are required to present an ever more customer-centric experience, which requires that they be relevant, responsive, reliable and consistent.

The South African automotive industry is fully integrated into the global automotive environment, deeply entrenched in international supply chains, and dependent on foreign investment. Changes in technology are at the core of the transition to the vehicle of the future, which is primarily linked to electrics and electronics, connectivity, safety, environment and fuel efficiency. Successes have been influenced by different factors, including commitment to innovation, R&D capabilities, large and extensive supply chains, and large and global production capabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the presence of industry disrupters have accelerated the OEMs’ focus and adoption of new technologies. Domestic automotive component suppliers need to meet the increasing environmental pressures when selling their products into national and international OEM supply chains. The Automotive industry has invested a record high R9,2 million aggregate Capital expenditure in 2020, with a breakdown of production facility and local product of R7,2 million, land and building at R1,5 million and the support infrastructure and  R&D at  R3,7 million.

Extensive investment continues in the new wave of technology and productive processes that demand new skills and complex problem-solving abilities. The changing economics of production and distribution, along with shifts in consumer demand and the emergence of smart products, are pushing manufacturers to explore radical new ways of creating value. Since there is a significant need for manufacturers to reinvent the car-buying experience, OEMs currently offer the greatest product choice the market has ever seen. Equally, customer expectations for reliability and performance have never been greater.

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