The automotive industry plays an important strategic role in South Africa’s overall economy, contributing 4.90% to gross domestic product – 2.80% from manufacturing and 2.10% from retail – in 2020. The manufacturing sector came to a standstill in March 2020, under Level 5 of the national Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Production and sales were also severely affected, which industry association naamsa | the Automotive Business Council has described as the most “turbulent year” in the history of the motor industry globally. Commenting on the current state of the industry, BMW South Africa CEO Peter van Binsbergen has said that “we need to make our industry futureproof, especially now that everything has moved faster than anyone expected . . . [and] where a big part of the automotive industry’s recovery from Covid-19 has been tied to electromobility incentives”. Creamer Media’s Automotive 2021 Report examines the current market conditions in South Africa’s automotive industry, including manufacturing and investment, the role that electric vehicles will play in the country’s future, sector support, transformation and labour, as well as the outlook for the sector.
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