Plans are underway to build a South African concept car to showcase local abilities and the role local manufacturers could play in the global automotive industry.

Plans are underway to build a South African concept car to showcase local abilities and the role local manufacturers could play in the global automotive industry.

The concept car, for demonstration purposes only, will be conceptualised by the Automotive industry development centre and the Gauteng provincial government's Blue IQ initiative as a means of attracting further investment to the industry.

In a report, AIDC chief executive Paulo Fernandes said that no final decision had yet been taken for the project to go ahead, but if it did proceed it would be similar to an initiative launched in Australia.

"This would be a demonstration car, and not a passenger vehicle to go into production," Fernandes stressed.

"The idea is to demonstrate SA's competence in the automotive industry. It goes around trade exhibitions to show manufacturing capability and technological capacity in areas such as IT systems," he said.

The AIDC is discussing the project with vehicle and automotive component manufacturers, as well as the trade and industry department. "It's an exciting idea, but I would be wary to state any final conclusions," said Fernandes.

The AIDC is looking at other ways to promote SA in certain niches in research and design of vehicles. "The concept is not to design the whole vehicle," said Fernandes.

"The medium- to long-term concept is to identify areas where we have more than a raw materials edge. I think there are areas where SA could develop a niche, in the medium term."

In the shorter-term, work is underway to find new uses in the automotive industry for lighter metals and work is being done to upgrade SA's skills in tooling used for manufacturing.

Fernandes also said it was important to do longer-term planning to develop a research and development strategy to explore other possibilities by 2020.

He said that while the current project was launched in Gauteng, it has now also begun operations in the Eastern Cape. Attempts are being made to extend the benefits of the success of the SA automotive industry to small firms and black-owned enterprises.

Original article from Car