An SA automotive components delegation has found “exceptional interest” from Japan to increase investment in South Africa after the extension of the Motor Industry Development Programme to 2012.

An SA automotive components delegation has reported back after a visit to Japan earlier this month that there is “exception” interest in further investment in South Africa after the extension of the Motor Industry Development Programme to 2012.

The reported that a delegation led by the Gauteng Economic Development Agency’s chief executive, Charles Jonker, had returned from Japan where they visited the procurements divisions of Toyota, Mazda and Daihatsu to discuss investment in South Africa’s component manufacturing industry. The delegation included Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa, Clive Williams, executive director of the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam), and director-general Mogopodi Mokoena.

They also visited Honda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Nissan, Nissan Diesel, Hino, Isuzu and the Japan Auto Parts Association. Jonker said there was a good possibility of Denso Corporation, the largest supplier of parts to Toyota, investing in South Africa. “The other manufacturers tend to take their lead from Toyota and the possibility of Denso investing in South Africa is excellent.

“There was great interest from Suzuki and we met Lewis Booth, former president of Ford SA, who now heads Mazda in Japan,” Jonker told the newspaper.

Williams told the delegation had also spent a week in India. “They are interested in exporting components to us. It’s become too expensive to make parts in developed countries so there is a shift to developing countries to do this and we are all competing for the business,” he said.

Williams said many of the Japanese companies wanted to get more involved in South Africa and they would be holding further talks.

Shilowa said the Gauteng provincial government has identified automotive manufacturing as one of its priority areas when explaining the importance of these trade missions. He said Gauteng's rich infrastructure, skilled workforce and technical training for the automotive industry offered strong incentive for more investment by automotive companies.

Williams also said Naacam had several initiatives lined up this year to encourage component investment in South Africa. “In June we are taking a delegation to the AAAA show in Australia to look at future involvement in the show and exporting components significantly to Australia.

“We will be taking about 40 companies to the Equit Auto Show in Paris in October. We will also be passing through the Nordic countries, while the Munich Chamber of Commerce will also arrange meetings for us. In November we are taking a group to the SEMA show,” he said.

Original article from Car