‘World class’ auto trim plant a big leap for localisation

30 August 2018 | Web Article Number:

Automotive
Metals & Alloys
Plastics & Rubber
SMME Development & Support

ADIENT South Africa’s modern new trim and JIT assembly plant in Rosslyn, near Pretoria, represents a positive statement for South Africa’s automotive manufacturing sector and demonstrates the value of localisation.

That’s according to the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), which said that the R105-nillion “world-class” plant demonstrates the country’s ability to execute globally for some of the world’s most demanding clients – in this case, BMW, who the plant will supply with seat covers and complete seat JIT assembly for its new BMW X3 (GO1) model.

The project was a result of close collaboration and skills-transfer between Adient South Africa and Adient teams around the world and now provides employment for 370 people.

“This is an excellent outcome in terms of greater localisation, which is something NAACAM regularly advocates for on behalf of its members,” said Renai Moothilal, Executive Director of NAACAM.

“In fact, the component manufacturing sector has seen greater interest in localisation opportunities by vehicle assemblers in the past year, something we think is in line with expectations of a policy shift that will give greater incentive recognition to domestic value-add in the period post-2020. Such an investment showcases the capability of, and trust in, SA-based suppliers, and we look forward to seeing more such examples.”

Adient is no stranger to South African localisation. Based in Plymouth, Michigan, the automotive parts manufacturer entered the South African market in 1994, and now operates four plants in the region: the new Rosslyn facility, a seating plant in Silverton (Pretoria), a JV metals plant in Port Elizabeth, and a cut-and-sew plant in Lesotho.

The automotive industry contributes 7.4% to South Africa’s overall GDP and directly employs over 113 000 people. “In short, the critical importance of the sector cannot be overstated as a significant driver of long-term growth, competitiveness and sustainability,” Moothilal said.

“But despite success stories like that of Adient South Africa, more needs to be done in terms of how much local content international vehicle manufacturers source from South African businesses, and also the number of partnerships established between our own manufacturers and local sub-suppliers.”

Moothilal added that it was only through this type of sector wide localisation that South Africa can hope to compete directly with other emerging automotive economies, such as those in Thailand, Turkey and Mexico.

“Without such competitiveness built into our national policy and transformational goals, South Africa runs the risk losing its status as a serious and dynamic manufacturer of automotive products. This would limit the local sector’s ability to expand: to hire more people, forge new partnerships, increase local skill levels to new levels of excellence, and, ultimately, drive our economy into a more prosperous, more inclusive, and more impactful phase of growth.”

Localisation and related issues will feature prominently on the agenda of the 2019 NAACAM show being held at the Durban International Convention Centre from 12 to 14 March 2019, hosted by the eThekwini Municipality in partnership with the Durban Automotive Cluster (DAC).

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