Among the major companies already confirmed as participants are: Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Porsche. Several other, major companies have indicated strong interest in the Festival and more firm commitments to participate are expected to be confirmed shortly. Finance house, Wesbank, has been confirmed as the headline sponsor for the Festival, after previously being a major sponsor of the Johannesburg International Motor Show in the past.
"We know that the South African economy is in a downturn, but we believe that the companies that market aggressively in these negative cycles benefit when the economic climate improves," said Konstantin von Vieregge, the recently-appointed CEO of SA Shows Messe Frankfurt, the organiser of this re-imagined motor show. "The smart guys invest in the hard times and reap the benefits in the good times."
"We are pleased with the initial response from the industry to the way in which we are re-positioning what was the Johannesburg International Motor Show and are confident we will have many more local motor companies signed up as participants by the time the show opens."
The objective of the SA Festival of Motoring is for it to be a 'must attend' lifestyle event for South African consumers in the same vein as the J&B Met and SA Fashion Week. It is aimed at so called petrolheads and motor sport enthusiasts, as well as at motorists in general. The Festival will involve both static displays and activations linked to automotive products and services as well as being a source of a wide range of ongoing entertainment both on and off the race track.
The organisers have reviewed several benchmark events worldwide and will be borrowing the best ideas from the most successful shows. This includes the Goodwood Festival of Speed staged annually in the United Kingdom and which is an excellent combination of passive and active elements in a very popular mix.
The organisers will shortly announce details of an upcoming countrywide search to find the 25 most interesting cars in South Africa which will be displayed at the Festival. This will be another very interesting highlight for visitors to this high profile, automotive-themed event.
"The South African motor industry is a very important factor in the overall economy of our country and as such deserves a showcase such as the SA Festival of Motoring," said Mike Whitfield, the President of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers and South Africa (NAAMSA, one of the endorsers of the Festival), speaking at the launch of the 2016 SA Festival of Motoring at Kyalami.
Whitfield explained that several major investments in new manufacturing projects by motor companies had been announced recently, which are a strong indicator of the confidence the automotive sector has in the future of South Africa.
"The motor industry in South Africa contributes more than 7% to the country's GDP, employs hundreds of thousands of people either directly or indirectly, and its export-driven production programme resulted in 376 00 built-up vehicles being shipped from SA last year. Projections for investments by the seven major motor manufacturers in 2016 stands currently at a record R7.63b which is very good news for a country that needs employment and a big increase in local manufacturing," explained the President of NAAMSA.
"Strong industry support for a top quality showcase for an automotive promotional event such as the SA Festival of Motoring is another example of our confidence in the future, even in these times of an economic downturn," he commented.
Show director Pula Dippenaar says her objective will be to put on a show that dovetails with the requirements of the exhibitors while providing visitors with an enjoyable and memorable special occasion by offering a variety of entertainment backed up with the opportunity to enjoy top quality cuisine in surroundings with a strong motoring ambience. "Entertainment will range from a fashion show to German touring cars roaring around the race circuit, with plenty in between, including a special children's play area with entertainment," said Ms Dippenaar.
What will be particularly appealing to visitors with an eye to buying new wheels will be the opportunity to take a test drive either on the race track or on the special 4x4 track depending on the lifestyle needs of the consumer. The track will feature super car drives with professional drivers as well as the self-drive opportunity to test a budget saloon.
Car enthusiasts will be well catered for too, with the Galleria area above the pits hosting a display consisting of an array of mouth-watering prestige cars and motorcycles alongside a range of artworks, which will include an art completion for schoolchildren. There will also be displays of cars by the various one-make marque clubs in a special paddock area. Selected motor car and motorcycle clubs will be invited to participate in the daily parades around the track highlighting various aspects of the motoring world.
VIP entertainment will be a major feature of the Festival, with a variety of options regarding location and cost to make this a very attractive business entertainment opportunity, not only for people in the automotive industry.