Being fully integrated into the global automotive environment, multiple trends influence manufacturing in South Africa. This creates a complex and continuously shifting environment for decision-makers to navigate. Technology is currently the dominating factor in supplier strategy, as automotive component suppliers are rushing into new technologies to deliver the grand vision of the automotive industry – electric vehicles, connected cars and autonomous driving.

The automotive sector has always been driven by ingenious innovations. Technologies, such as next generation robotics, digitalisation, connectivity, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, advanced materials, and autonomous products, however, could change not only the kind of products produced but also the way in which manufacturing happens. The roles of stakeholders in the manufacturing ecosystem could become radically different when new technologies change the way in which they communicate, collaborate, and share data. In the wake of autonomy and vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity, telematics service providers have also evolved from being only telematics providers to technology innovation partners.

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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