Tough times for auto industry

The outlook for the South African automotive industry is not all that great unless Government steps up and fixes infrastructure failures such as roads, rail and ports as well as bringing the country into line with international fuel standards.

The recent 2019 State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) address – hosted by Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) – delivered some sobering facts about the affairs of the local automotive industry and its socio-economic context.

Andrew Kirby@Toyota SOMI

According to Kirby, total vehicle sales for the 2019 will continue the downward trajectory that began in 2013 – with the exception of 2017 when the market registered a marginal increase – and settle at 550 000 at the end of the year.

As Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya puts it: “2019 will essentially be a year of two halves, in the first half we are expecting activity to remain relatively benign in the economy because we are heading into the elections. We are certainly monitoring business confidence, which has been quite weak due to political uncertainty. On the business side, our view essentially is businesses are likely to stay on the sidelines till after the outcome of the elections; only then will we start to see business confidence improve – investment of course follows that.”

Both the World Bank and the South African Reserve Bank have predicted this year’s economic growth will be less than 2% – with forecasts of 1,3% and 1,9%, respectively. The extrapolation – based on a variety of socio-economic factors – does not bode well for the local motor industry.

The automotive sector currently contributes 7% to local GDP, constitutes 30% of South Africa’s total manufacturing output, is responsible for 14% of total exports and employs 112 000 people in the vehicle and component production.

However, the figures pale in comparison to the targets set by the industry and the government in the recently-announced South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) 2035 – which is essentially an extension of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP).

The vision of the Masterplan is to increase the number of people working in the automotive industry by 100% (from 112 000 to 224 000) and double the percentage of vehicles assembled in South Africa from 38,7% to 60%. This will amount to 1,4-million vehicles produced annually and grow the South African vehicle production to 1% of the global output.

The Masterplan, developed jointly through strategic collaboration between the government, industry and labour unions, will replace the APDP from 2021 to 2035.

Kirby says while the automotive industry appreciates the government’s continued support of the sector, there are a number of focus areas that need to be addressed in order for the Masterplan to be a success. These include lack of infrastructure such as stable and competitive ports and rail, as well as the maintenance of urban roads.

The quality of South African fuel is also poor, which in turn, could hinder the availability of world-class vehicle engines for the South African market, while there are also concerns about technology disruptors and how they’re likely to influence customer needs.

However, one of the main challenges to domestic market stimulation is the relatively high tax structure that makes vehicle ownership almost impossible for many.

Africa offers a good prospect for local vehicle manufacturers, however the proliferation of used cars from overseas markets is a threat.

“Africa is not a dumping ground for second-hand vehicles,” says Dr Martyn Davies, Managing Director of Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte.

Dr Martyn Davies@Toyota SOMI

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Ranger production begins

Sparks are flying at Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria with the official start of the build programme for the all-new Ford Ranger.

“Following the investment of more than R3-billion in our local operations and extensive upgrades to our plants over the past 18 months, we are delighted to see the first of the new Ford Ranger models coming off our production line,” says Neale Hill, Managing Director, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region.

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“This is an extremely important and exciting year for the Ford Ranger, which will also see the launch of the first-ever Ranger Raptor that is undoubtedly one of this year’s most highly anticipated new models.

“The 2019 Ford Ranger will deliver more power, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced refinement and even more advanced technologies when it goes on sale in the coming months, and we are confident it will once again set the benchmark in the extremely competitive pickup segment.”

Selected range-topping models, including the Ranger Raptor, will be powered by the all-new 2.0 Bi-Turbo diesel engine assembled at Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth. This unit produces 157 kW and 500 Nm of torque – up by 10 kW and 30 Nm compared with the current 3.2 TDCi – and delivers up to a nine percent improvement in fuel efficiency when combined with the advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission.

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Certain derivatives will feature a 2.0 Single Turbo version of this engine, producing 132 kW and 420 Nm of torque, mated to the same 10-speed transmission. Various other models in the line-up will retain the 2,2-litre and 3,2-litre Duratorq TDCi engines and existing gearbox options.

As usual, the line-up includes Single Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab body styles to suit customer requirements.

Along with freshened design cues, range-topping Ranger models include safety features on the Wildtrak such as Pre-Collision Assist and Active Park Assist. SYNC 3 with Navigation remains one of the Ranger’s technology highlights as a fully featured infotainment system with intuitive voice control.

Following the launch of the ‘standard’ new Ford Ranger models, the attention will be shifted to the locally assembled Ranger Raptor that is set to create an entirely new segment in the pickup market when it makes its eagerly anticipated debut.

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“There is a lot of excitement and hype around the Ranger Raptor, and this exhilarating new model will occupy a white space in the pickup market when it goes on sale in the second quarter of this year, creating the first-ever true performance model in this crucial segment,” says Hill.

“We cannot wait to get the Ranger Raptor to market, enabling our customers to experience unrivalled off-road performance, cutting-edge technologies and the most muscular design yet seen in this class.”

Some of the defining features of the Ranger Raptor include Position Sensitive Damping (PSD) shock absorbers exclusively manufactured by Fox, and an advanced Terrain Management System (TMS) that includes an exciting Baja mode for fast off-road driving. It also boasts a toughened reinforced chassis, powerful all-disc braking system and specially developed BF Goodrich tyres.

Jaguar adds XJ special edition

Fifty years is a special anniversary for anyone. . . or anything! Jaguar is celebrating five decades of the XJ with a special edition, now available locally.

Exterior enhancements include Autobiography-style front and rear bumpers, 19-inch split seven-spoke wheels, black grille mesh and special XJ50 badges on the boot lid and fender side vents. Four colour choices include Rosello Red, Loire Blue, Santorini Black and Fuji White.

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The XJ50’s cabin is accented with an anniversary logo embossed in the centre armrest and a commemorative plaque in the walnut veneer, which wraps around the base of the windscreen, mimicking the form of classic wooden-hulled powerboats.

Branded treadplates in the front door sills illuminate with XJ50 logos while shift paddles and pedals are finished in bright metal. Seats are swathed in soft-grain diamond-quilted leather with Jaguar Leapers embossed in the headrests, and the front row features 18-way electric adjustment and five massage programmes as standard.

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The XJ50 is sold in South Africa in both standard and long wheelbase guises, and power comes exclusively from a 221 kW 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine.

Other standard features include self-levelling rear air suspension, LED headlights with Adaptive Lighting and soft close doors among many others.

Ian Callum, Jaguar Director of Design, says: “The Jaguar XJ story is one of design, desirability and performance and over the past 50 years it has become a true giant in the automotive world and it’s only right that we pay homage to it in this special way. When I started at Jaguar, the XJ was already an icon of car design, so to have been part of this story that has been told over half a century has been an absolute privilege.”

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In 1968 the XJ made its debut at the Paris Motor Show, with Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons revealing his vision for a sedan with the handling of an E-type sports car.

Four years into its life it became the world’s only mass-produced 12-cylinder four-door car and, with a top speed of 225 km/h, it was also the fastest four-seater of its time. For half a century the XJ has been the preferred vehicle to transport politicians, business leaders, royalty and even rock stars.

The new Jaguar XJ50 is available in South Africa now and is priced from R1 815 000 for standard wheelbase and R 1 921 200 for long wheelbase.

Santam scoops three awards

Both the insurance industry and the panelbeating community regularly beart the brunt of consumer anger – much of this they do inflict upon themselves and much not warranted at all.

However, once a year the SA Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA) takes time to pay homage to those who have served its members well during the preceding year and Santam walked away with three awards for the 2017/18 period at a function in Johannesburg recently.

Winners Insurer Category Compressed

It won Insurer of the Year award for the period 2017/18, Green Practices and Service Excellence in the insurance category.

Toyota SA received the top honours for all-round best OEM, RSB Autogroup scooped the Service Excellence award in the Paint Suppliers category and equipment supplier, Gondolier, took the overall Service Excellence award in the Equipment Suppliers category.

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SAMBRA, an Association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) represents the majority of motor body repairers in the country. SAMBRA focuses on creating and maintaining industry sustainability and development and the annual Awards is one of its flagship projects.

“The SAMBRA Survey upon which these awards are based, has been conducted each year since 2011 to monitor the business relationship between the insurance and motor body repair industry. It was subsequently extended to also include OEMs, as well as paint and equipment suppliers, each of which makes a vital contribution to the motor body repair industry,” says Jeanne Esterhuizen, SAMBRA’s National Chairperson and President of the umbrella Retail Motor Industry (RMI).

The survey is independently managed and audited by Lightstone Consumer. The survey targets the eligible 880 SAMBRA members nationwide to rate insurers, OEMs and suppliers on the following factors: fair business practices (especially prompt payment which now has a dedicated award), green practices, relationship satisfaction, quality of vehicle damage assessment and repairers’ interaction with claims staff, payment speed, customer service, training programmes, product support and more.

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This survey – and its outcome – has become an important yard-stick against which all partners evaluate themselves and their services to panel shops – and ultimately, the consumer. Its value is demonstrated by the fact that an unusually high 50% plus response rate from SAMBRA members nationwide.

SAMBRA National Director, Richard Green, emphasised the body’s current focus was on levelling the playing field to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to gain equal access to the industry, especially encouraging partners to ensure prompt payment of all invoices to small businesses as a key priority of their businesses, and to remove any barriers to the achievement of that goal. It was to underscore the importance of this business value that SAMBRA introduced a ‘Best Payer’ award for insurers.

Guest speaker, Dionne Kerr, CEO of Siyakha Consulting, hit an optimistic note saying fixed direct investment into South Africa last year was at a 10-year high, and that local businesses should mirror the confidence of foreign investors by implementing a ‘Buy Local’ and import replacement programme.

“It is now that we need to achieve economic change and build a sustainable and growth oriented South Africa. The South African government creates more incentives and grants on skills development than any other country in the world except Sweden and Norway,” stressed Kerr.

FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Insurance Category:
1st Place – Best Insurer: Santam
2nd Place – Best Insurer: Old Mutual Insure
3rd Place – Best Insurer: Hollard Insure
Best Payer: MiWay
Most Efficient: OUTsurance
Green Practices: Santam
Service Excellence: Santam

OEM Category:
1st Place – Best OEM: Toyota SA
2nd Place – Best OEM: Volkswagen
3rd Place – Best OEM: Audi
Best Training Programme: Audi
Communication Excellence: Toyota SA

Paint Supplier Category:
Overall Service Excellence: RSB Autogroup for RM product.
Best Training: RSB Autogroup
Best Product Support: RSB Autogroup

Equipment Supplier Category:
Overall Service Excellence: Gondolier
Best Training: Bosch Automotive
Best Product Support: Bosch Automotive

Punch in the gut

The name is a tongue-twister of note but the performance is intended to be a hefty punch in the gut – it is the limited run Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition and due for launch in South Africa later this year.
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Designed as the pinnacle of the Velar line-up, the new model has been developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations and is powered by a 405 kW 5,0-litre V8 supercharged engine with a range of design enhancements.

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It accelerates from 0-100km/h in 4,5 seconds and is capable of 274 km/h, while cosseting customers with traditional Range Rover refinement and comfort and it features uprated brakes and suspension components, plus bespoke settings for everything from the powertrain to the safety systems.

Michael van der Sande, Managing Director, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, says: “Developing the Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is the kind of task Special Vehicle Operations was made for.

“The challenge here was to increase performance without compromising the composure, capability and refinement inherent in Range Rover Velar. We’ve done this and, in the process, created an SUV that strikes a brilliant balance between go-anywhere practicality, dynamic performance and relaxing comfort – it truly is an SUV for any occasion.”

On the outside, it features include a new front bumper with larger air intakes to feed the V8 supercharged engine and cool the uprated braking system. A new grille and lower side mouldings combine with a revised rear bumper featuring integrated quad exhaust finishers.

The exterior changes combine with a transmission tunnel undertray to ensure the fastest Velar in the range cuts through the air more efficiently.

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The SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition is also the only Velar available in Satin Byron Blue – a metallic paint finish from Special Vehicle Operations’ Premium Palette range – and all models feature a contrast Narvik Black roof as standard.

“Our continued evolution is driven by a relentless focus on creating highly desirable vehicles our customers will love for life. The new Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition amplifies the highly desirable nature of the 2018 World Car Design winner by introducing a compelling combination of heightened performance and luxury,” says Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover.

The lightweight 21-inch wheel design weighs the same as the 20-inch wheels on the core model and customers can also specify optional 22-inch rims with a unique Silver Sparkle finish and diamond-turned edging, providing a further degree of personalisation.

The larger wheels support the performance focus of the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition, helping to generate more grip and accommodating larger brakes. Its 395 mm front and 396 mm diameter rear brake discs feature a two-piece construction to optimise weight.

The exterior is matched by a heightened sense of luxury inside with a carefully curated combination of trim finishes and upholstery. The twin-stitched, perforated and quilted Windsor leather is unique to the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition.

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Customers can choose from four colour combinations (Ebony, Cirrus, Vintage Tan and Pimento) and the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition features 20-way adjustable heated and cooled front seats with memory and massage functions as standard.

The sports steering wheel features a specially contoured rim and tactile aluminium gear shift paddles. Lower down, the rotary gear selector and circular control dials for the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system all feature a sophisticated knurled finish.

An optional carbon fibre pack for the interior adds a more contemporary feel to the cabin, with a distinctive steel weave, while sports pedals and illuminated metal treadplates with Range Rover script complete the look.

Calibrations for the AWD system, Active Rear Locking Differential, eight-speed transmission, steering and air suspension have all been honed and are bespoke to the SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition; delivering a more focused driving experience.

Engineers at Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations spent 63 900 hours fine-tuning the unique calibration to optimise the ride, handling and responsiveness.

The AWD system has been uprated with a transfer box capable of withstanding the higher loads generated by the 5,0-litre supercharged V8 engine. The advanced Intelligent Driveline Dynamics system precisely and imperceptibly distributes engine torque to suit the conditions. The set-up can direct as much as 100% to the rear depending on the conditions.

The Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition will be priced from R1 714 000 and will be introduced to South Africa in the second half of 2019.

Cummins hits a ton

Cummins Inc is celebrating its 100th year as a company throughout 2019 – and that is no mean feat for any business considering the rapidly changing economies in the countries in which it operates.

cummins inc. is celebrating its 100th year as a company throughout 2019

However, it goes beyond just bing successful in Dollar terms and in the Africa and Middle East regions, the focus is on building more prosperous communities through a four-pillar strategy that concentrates on Technical Education for Communities, Secondary School Education, Environmental Initiatives, and Integration of People with Disabilities.

In anticipation of its centennial, the company recently launched the Cummins Powers Women programme, which represents Cummins’ commitment to the advancement and prosperity of women and girls around the world and is the next phase of Cummins’ commitment to large-scale community impact.

In Nigeria, for example, Cummins leaders joined forces with Rise Up to use its voice in communities to promote exponential change in the lives of women and girls.

Rise Up’s leadership accelerator programme convenes the top leading civil society organisations, communities, and companies working to advance prospects for women. These groups unite to focus on capacity building, networking, and leadership development, all facilitated by Rise Up.

Cummins today, which is listed as a Fortune 150 company, employs around 60 000 people worldwide, and serves customers in nearly every country across the globe.

Cummins products range from diesel and natural gas engines to hybrid and electric platforms, as well as engine systems components, controls, and related technologies, and it continues to develop new advanced products and services.

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The company’s humble roots date back to 1919 when Clessie Cummins and business partner William Irwin built a company that was one of the first to take advantage of the ground-breaking technology developed by German engineer Rudolf Diesel in the late 1800s.

“Technological innovation is at the heart of what we do,” says Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger.

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“Cummins is a global technology leader with a broad portfolio of power solutions. We will continue to innovate to ensure our customers’ success.”

Cummins will further advance diesel and natural gas engine technology and bring new solutions to market. It is investing in electrified powertrains and developing alternative technologies such as solid oxide and hydrogen fuel cells, and exploring new technologies for future growth.

In addition, the company continues to develop integrated engine system technologies and controls, and is working with partners to integrate its products and services in the autonomous vehicles of the future.

While most independent engine manufacturers no longer exist, Cummins’ leadership credits its longevity to its 100 years of commitment to its mission, vision, and values, staying focused on long-term goals, and standing up for what is right. This commitment has been beneficial to all Cummins’ stakeholders, and will continue to guide decisions for the next 100 years.

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“We understand our company is only as successful as the communities where we operate, and we are committed to building more prosperous communities around the world,” says Mary Chandler, Vice-President of Corporate Responsibility, and CEO of the Cummins Foundation. “Improving our global communities has been a key part of our first 100 years, and will remain a focus for the next century and beyond.

“Our employees lead the way in year-round community problem-solving, making a difference in Cummins’ global priority areas of education, the environment, and equal opportunity for all. Together with our community partners, we look forward to the next 100 years of helping people thrive in their day-to-day lives,” Chandler stresses.

The Cummins Every Employee, Every Community programme promotes employee engagement by ensuring every Cummins employee has the opportunity to contribute at least four hours on company time to his or her community.
“As I reflect on our history and look to the future, I want people to view Cummins as a company that cares about powering a more prosperous world,” Linebarger notes. “How we do it is ultimately just as important as what we do.”

Go to brand

Volkswagen is marching rapidly towards being the ‘go to’ brand on the African continent with the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), this time with Ethiopia for the joint development of an auto industry in that country.

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Volkswagen has been manufacturing vehicles in South Africa since 1951 and has been the market leader in passenger cars for the past eight consecutive years. Volkswagen also has vehicle assembly operations in Algeria, Kenya and Rwanda. Rwanda has an Integrated Mobility Solutions business, which currently offers Community Car Sharing and shortly to be launched Ride Hailing.

The latest MoU was signed by Thomas Schaefer, Head of the Volkswagen Sub-Sahara Africa Region and Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), Abebe Abebayehu.The MoU was signed in the presence of the Ethiopian Minister for Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ahmed Shide and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, who is on a state visit to Ethiopia.

The signing of the MoU paves way for Volkswagen and the Ethiopian Government to commence high-level and technical collaboration which is integral to the development of an automotive industry and policy framework.

It identifies four key pillars as important for the development of the Ethiopian automotive industry. These include the establishment of a vehicle assembly facility, localisation of automotive components, introduction of mobility concepts such as app-based car sharing and ride hailing as well as the opening of local skills development training centre.

Furthermore, Volkswagen undertook to draw upon its vast global experience in global supply chains in the automotive industry in anticipation that the project will lead to the development of an automotive industry in the country.

In turn, the Ethiopian Government committed to support the establishment of specialised clusters owing to the economies of scale and efficiencies realised through the project.

The Ethiopian Government has acknowledged the pivotal role played by trainable labour force in creating a thriving and competitive automotive industry. As such, Volkswagen will work closely with the Ethiopian higher education and training institutions for skills development and capacity building of local talent.

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Ethiopia becomes the third country in Sub-Sahara Africa to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen in the last six months. It follows Ghana and Nigeria, which both signed MoUs with Volkswagen in August 2018. In Ghana, Volkswagen undertook to establish a vehicle assembly facility and conduct a feasibility study for an integrated mobility solutions concept. In Nigeria, Volkswagen undertook to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles initially from assembly kits with long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub in West Africa.

“Our Sub-Sahara Africa strategy is gaining momentum with the signing of the third MoU in the last six months. We are grateful for the support and vision of the Ethiopian Government in identifying the automotive sector as one of the key manufacturing industries that can help the country to realise its Vision 2025 goals,” says Schaefer.

“As one of the fastest growing economies, and with the second highest population in the continent, Ethiopia is an ideal country to advance our Sub-Sahara Africa development strategy. Additionally, Volkswagen intends on tapping into existing expertise and strategic resources in Ethiopia to establish a thriving automotive components industry.”

Abebe Abebayehu, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) says: “Ethiopia is in a remarkable economic, political and social transformation that puts inclusive and sustainable growth, and private sector development, at its heart.

“With a fast growing economy and stellar performance on FDI inflow, Ethiopia is asserting itself as a competitive and preferred location of choice for investment. This MoU signing with Volkswagen is yet another testimony that Ethiopia is open for business.

“Through this partnership, we hope to advance a joint vision for the development of a competitive, vertically integrated and sustainable automotive industry. The Government of Ethiopia stands ready to effectively translate this partnership into concrete actions and actual investment.’’

Under its TRANSFORM 2025+ brand strategy, Volkswagen is strengthening the regions and focusing on new up-and-coming markets. Alongside North and South America as well as China, the Sub-Sahara Africa region plays an increasingly important role.

Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region could develop into an automotive growth market of the future. Africa has been identified as the last frontier for the automotive industry.

Ethiopia is a priority and focus country for Germany under the G20 Compact with Africa initiative.

“Volkswagen welcomes the G20 ‘Compact with Africa’ initiative in Ethiopia. The German Government has been very supportive of our expansion strategy into Sub-Sahara Africa. We are as committed to the success of Africa as they are,” concluded Schaefer.