Managing China's entry into the South African automotive industry

Van der Westhuyzen, Margaretha (2009-03)

Thesis (MBA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African automotive industry has enjoyed unsurpassed growth over the past 15 years and the majority of its successes are attributable to the efforts of the Motor Industry Development Plan (MIDP). Unfortunately, the MIDP cannot be a permanent solution for accelerating growth and the longevity of industry role players such as vehicles and component manufacturers is of great concern. The Chinese automotive industry on the other hand is booming and millions of vehicles are churned out annually. Internal market forces, overproduction and government initiatives compel Chinese manufacturers to cross the Chinese borders in search of alternative and mostly less developed markets for their motor vehicles. These vehicles can now be found in most African countries south of the Sahara, including various brands on the South African roads. South Africa's roads accommodate almost a hundred models against which the Chinese vehicles need to compete. What is attractive about the Chinese vehicles is their price, but unfortunately the vehicle quality is not up to standard yet. Chinese vehicles have however improved so much over the past few years that it is expected they will soon be able to compete with well-established local brands such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, etc. Although the price tag of these vehicles is increasing the mobility of the average South African consumer, the effect it might have on the existing automotive market is uncertain as the Chinese vehicle has already proven to gain market share in a declining economy. So where the average consumer will benefit from the Chinese vehicle, the industry workforce might not be so lucky. It is thus crucial for the industry to establish ways to create international dependence on South Africa's automotive industry. The opportunities are endless and various management approaches can be taken to leverage the industry's shortfalls. A serious shortfall is the global shortage of innovators and as South Africa is known as one of the most innovative countries in the world, it could easily gear itself in supplying innovating concepts and leading-edge technology to the global industry. To be able to do so successfully requires a concerted effort of all role players in the local industry. The local industry needs to expand its reach into the world to guarantee its longevity. Possible ways of doing so are to increase the level of value-adding activities and so too the exportation of value-adding components and fully built-up vehicles. By proving itself as a value-adding strategic partner, the industry can attract additional global manufacturers to invest in manufacturing facilities in South Africa, which does not exclude Chinese manufacturers. Last but not least, the South African government needs to develop a manageable instrument with a single objective, which is to grow and sustain an internationally competitive automotive industry in order to attract and keep global investors within the industry and the country.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse motorindustrie het ongekende groei ervaar oor die afgelope 15 jaar en die suksesse daarvan word grotendeels toegeskryf aan die Motor Industrie Ontwikkelings Plan (MIDP). Ongelukkig kan die MIDP nie die permanente oplossing wees om die groei van die industrie aan te hou stimuleer en versnel nie. Die toekomstige lewensvatbaarheid van huidige spelers in die industrie wek egter groot kommer. Die Chinese motorindustrie aan die ander kant bars uit sy nate en miljoene motors word jaarliks vervaardig. So is dit ook dat interne markkragte, oorproduksie en regeringsinisiatiewe Chinese motorvervaardigers dwing om oor hul grense heen te gaan op soek na ander, minder ontwikkelde markte vir hul motors. Hierdie motors kan nou in meeste Afrika lande suid van die Sahara gevind word en sluit in talle modelle op Suid-Afrikaanse paaie. Die Suid-Afrikaanse paaie akkommodeer tans amper 'n honderd motormodelle teen wie die Chinese motors sal moet kompeteer. Wat egter aantreklik is van hierdie motors is hul prys, maar ongelukkig is die kwaliteit nog nie op standaard nie. Chinese motors het egter oor die jare so verbeter dat dit verwag kan word dat hul binnekort met meer bekende make soos Toyota, Volkswagen en Honda sal kan kompeteer. Alhoewel die besonderse prys van die motors die mobiliteit van die gemiddelde Suid Afrikaanse verbruiker verhoog, is die effek daarvan op die huidige motormark onseker omdat Chinese motors alreeds bewys het dat hut markaandeel kan wen in 'n dalende ekonomie. So waar die gemiddelde verbruiker mag bevoordeel word deur die Chinese voertuig, kan die werkersmag in die huidige motorindustrie nie so gelukkig daaraantoe wees nie. Dit is dus van kardinale belang dat die industrie maniere vestig om internasionale afhanklikheid van Suid-Afrika se motorindustrie te kweek. Die geleenthede is legio en talle invalshoeke kan geneem word om die industrie se tekortkominge te bestuur en uit te balanseer. 'n Belangrike tekortkoming is die globale tekort aan innoveerders en omdat Suid-Afrika gesien word as een van die mees innoverende lande ter wereld, kan die industrie maklik voorberei word om innoverende konsepte en baanbrekerstegnologie aan die globale industrie te verskaf. Om so iets suksesvol te doen het egter die gesamentlike insette nodig van alle rolspelers in die Suid-Afrikaanse motorindustrie. So ook het die industrie dit nodig om sy wereldwye impak te vergroot om sodoende sy lewensvatbaarheid te vergroot. Moontlike maniere om dit te vermag is om die aantal waardetoevoegende aktiwiteite te vergroot asook die uitvoere van waardetoevoegende komponente en klaarvervaardigde voertuie. As die industrie hom self kan bewys as 'n strategiese vennoot wat waarde toevoeg, kan die industrie addisionele internasionale vervaardigers aantrek om te investeer in vervaardigingsfasiliteite in Suid-Afrika, wat natuurlik nie Chinese vervaardigers uitsluit nie. Ten laaste is dit nodig vir die Suid-Afrikaanse regering om 'n bestuursinstrument te ontwikkel met een doel voor oe en dit is om die industrie se internasionale kompeterendheid te bevorder en te behou sodat globale investeerders in die industrie en Suid-Afrika in geheel kan investeer.

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