Growth within the South African automotive manufacturing industry.
The South African automotive manufacturing industry is of strategic importance to the economy due to the industry’s significant contribution to GDP, employment and foreign trade. Therefore, it is essential that the automotive manufacturing industry continue to grow sustainably in order to support South Africa’s ambition with regards to economic growth. This research study aims to identify and model the impact of factors which inhibit or enable growth in vehicle production within the South African automotive manufacturing industry. This study also attempts to recommend measures to mitigate the impact of the identified inhibiting factors. The unintended consequences that may occur due to the impact of the identified inhibiting and enabling factors have also been addressed in the research study. This study adopted a semi-quantitative research methodology which involved the simulation of a fuzzy cognitive mapping study in conjunction with qualitative data collected during the research process whereby semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected stakeholders from the local automotive industry. An initial fuzzy cognitive map was constructed from literature and then enhanced and validated with insights and perspectives from respondents. The enhanced fuzzy cognitive map was then used to conduct simulations of various scenarios which yielded results that were analysed and used to address the research propositions that are presented in this study. The research study found that dominant enablers for growth in vehicle production include national development plans to upgrade infrastructure and government policy favourable to the South African automotive manufacturing industry; in particular the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP). Furthermore, the existing network of local automotive component suppliers, forecasted export and local vehicle demand and the overall political stability in South Africa were found to be other dominant factors which enable growth in vehicle production. In contrast, the relatively high cost of labour in South Africa; the existence of competing emerging market OEMs; the influence iii of trade unions; and the current state of the global and local economy were found to be dominant inhibiting factors for growth in vehicle production. The research study found that the impact on natural resources; the socioeconomic environment; the cost of living and overall quality of life were unintended consequences that may occur due to the impact of the abovementioned inhibiting and enabling factors on growth in vehicle production. Furthermore, an influx of foreign labour, job creation in related and unrelated industries and further changes to the APDP have also been identified as unintended consequences by respondents during the research process. A key recommendation of this research study is to implement several specific measures to mitigate the impact of inhibiting factors on growth in vehicle production. Creating certainty with regards to the continuity of the APDP is crucial since favourable government policy found to be a dominant enabler to growth in vehicle production. Furthermore, history has shown that in the absence of a government-led, automotive industry incentive and development programme, growth in vehicle production volumes may decline and investment in infrastructure by OEMs may be constrained or discontinued.
Motor vehicle industry -- South Africa. Production management -- South Africa.