The local automotive manufacturing industry needs to become more cut-throat to remain competitive beyond 2012 (when the MIDP expires), VWSA communications manager Bill Stephens said.

The local automotive manufacturing industry needs to become more cut-throat to remain competitive beyond 2012 (when the MIDP expires), VWSA communications manager Bill Stephens said.

The local automotive manufacturing industry would need to become more cut-throat if it were to remain competitive beyond the 2012 expiry of the Motor Industry Development Programme, Bill Stephens, communications GM for VWSA said.

Speaking at the second South African Automotive Conference held in Port Elizabeth, Stephens said the local industry's global competitiveness would be strained with the end of its ad valorem protection in 2012. He said the cost gap between the local industry and its international counterparts would need to be reduced if South Africa wanted to remain a key player in the global market.

"The only way we can protect the investments in South Africa, including the hundreds of thousands of people reliant on the industry for employment, is to become globally competitive on all fronts," Stephens said.

In his address, Stephens pointed out that China had emerged as a major threat to South Africa. However, this could not be allowed to impact on the local industry's export potential or the domestic supply programme, the stated.

"The only way we can combat this threat is to become world class. The industry, therefore, needs to reach the same productivity rate and quality standards as regions such as Europe, China and Brazil," Stephens said.

Stephens said that the local industry has become more global and vehicle exports have virtually doubled in volume since 2000. He added that greater global competitiveness would give the local component supply base stability and the opportunity to play a more significant role in global industry sourcing. Vehicle and component manufacturers would need to be able to accommodate massive potential growth and the added pressure of international competition.

Original article from Car