The Automechanika South Africa trade fair, which opened at the Johannesburg Expo Centre yesterday 9 March 2011, saw international and local supporters express their support of the automotive industry in South Africa and Gauteng in particular.
Detlef Braun, board management member of Messe Frankfurt, the owners of the global Automechanika brand, said that he was most impressed with what he had seen at this the second staging of Automechanika in Johannesburg and heartened by the positive economic and motor industry related facts and figures he had seen in a presentation by WesBank CEO, Brian Riley, at the Car of the Year function in Midrand the previous evening.
"We were all impressed two years ago when the first Automechanika SA trade fair turned out to be the most successful premiere of all these events in the world," said Braun. "We had confidence in the project from the first dealings with our South African colleagues from Dogan Trading, who are all experts in the trade fair business, which is exactly what we are used to in Messe Frankfurt.
'Holding thumbs' for upturn in automotive sector
"Hopefully the South African economy will recover from the global crisis in the same way we have done in Germany. We are holding thumbs that this second show will signal the country's upturn in the automotive business."
Barlow Manilal, CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), comments, "This is one of the world's leading automotive trade fairs and potential investors, who will be in our province, will have the opportunity to be introduced to the right people so that networks can be established to take their investments further. The AIDC plays a unique role in engaging with both industry and government role-players and we look forward to contributing to the efforts of our colleagues in promoting foreign direct investment, with a specific focus on the automotive sector."
Expo part of conference
The Gauteng's Investor Conference, hosted by the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) also on 9 March, outlined the opportunities, requirements and required processes for potential international automotive investors. Relevant government entities were on hand to forge direct links with investors and thereby encourage foreign direct investment in the sector.
Delegates heard that Gauteng is a compelling automotive investment destination, as the speakers including Econometrix economist Tony Twine as well as various senior government officials from Department of Trade and Industry and Gauteng's agencies responsible for economic development and trade promotion, cast the spotlight on automotive investment in the province at Nasrec as part of the international Automechanika Trade Fair 2011. Delegates were invited to a special site tour of the world-class Automotive Supplier Park, a Blue IQ initiative, to evaluate the existing manufacturing infrastructure first-hand.
AIDC is one of two automotive focused subsidiaries of Blue IQ, the Gauteng provincial government agency tasked with unlocking the potential of key growth and development areas for sustainable economic growth in the province. Amanda Nair, Blue IQ's CEO, says that delegates at the conference gained a valuable snapshot of the automotive industry in Gauteng, its impressive capabilities and the investment opportunities it presents.
"One of AIDC functions is to facilitate automotive investment enquiries. In recent interactions with several automotive suppliers that have considered setting up manufacturing facilities in Gauteng, investors have spoken of the difficulties experienced in gathering information on the automotive manufacturing sector in Gauteng, specifically incentives offered by Gauteng," says Nair.
"An international trade fair such as today's provides an opportunity not only to meet and engage with interested investors and industry stakeholders attending the expo, but also to send a clear message beyond these doors that Gauteng is well-positioned to facilitate investment."
National government has demonstrated its commitment to growth in the sector through the Automotive Production and Development Programme with its wide range of incentives and tax measures that will become effective in 2012. The Gauteng Economic Growth and Development Strategy has singled out the automotive and component industries for future infrastructure investment, policy interventions and growth incentives from the side of government.
A publication on Gauteng's automotive value proposition was launched at the conference, Gauteng's Automotive Value Proposition 2011
. It contains helpful contact details of various role players and outlines pertinent issues to investing in the province's automotive sector.