Electric vehicle (EV) sales are forecast to exceed internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle sales by 2038, with sales in the European Union (EU) projected to comprise 40% EVs by 2030, and 80% by 2040, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its fourth quarter (Q4) business review.
“The UK, the domestic automotive industry’s top vehicle export destination, [last year] announced its intention to bring forward the banning of ICEs by five years, from 2035 to 2030.
“Considering the significance of exports for the South African automotive industry, to generate sufficient economies of scale and to achieve improved international competitiveness, developments in Europe have a direct and measurable impact on the domestic automotive industry,” says Naamsa.
“Also, considering that three out of every four South African manufactured vehicles are destined for the EU, the evolution and advancement of electromobility in South Africa need to be accelerated.”
The Q4 business review reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic has not been kind to South African vehicle exports.
Following record vehicle exports at 387 092 units in 2019 for the second consecutive year, 2020 vehicle exports, at 271 283 units, declined by 115 809 units, or 29.9%, compared with 2019.
The Q4 report notes that Europe accounted for 72.8% of total vehicle exports from South Africa in 2020.
Exports to this market declined by 30.9% in 2020.
Naamsa’s CEO Confidence Index is an in-house business confidence indicator of current and future developments in the domestic automotive industry, developed through opinions canvassed anonymously from the association’s CEOs.
The questions focus on the CEO’s views on automotive business conditions in particular, as well as the country’s economy, in general.
Despite a much-improved performance during the fourth quarter 2020, the index shows that CEOs generally regarded the prevailing domestic automotive industry business conditions during the fourth quarter as unsatisfactory compared with the corresponding quarter last year.
The CEOs representing the heavy-commercial vehicle segment generally reflected a more positive sentiment on several performance indicators during the fourth quarter, as the performance of the truck market tended to show more resilience compared with the passenger-car market.
The CEOs of selected independent vehicle importers were also more positive, with this sentiment related to their specific brands outperforming the ongoing overall depressed market conditions during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The index shows that the sentiment expressed by the Naamsa CEOs relating to automotive business conditions over the next six months is one of cautious optimism.
A rebound in the domestic, as well as global economic growth, rates is generally anticipated for 2021, which bodes well for improved domestic new-vehicle sales and production.
In general, the CEOs across all vehicle manufacturing segments, as well as the CEOs of the independent vehicle importers, are fairly positive that domestic new-vehicle market performance indicators and market conditions are likely to improve over the next six months.