South Africa must learn from Australia’s auto industry implosion

Australian adviser to present learnings in South Africa.

South Africa’s automotive manufacturing industry believes it must learn from the dramatic collapse of the Australian auto sector.

National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers of South Africa (NAACAM) Executive Director, Robert Houdet said the Australian industry’s collapse, which could trigger the loss of over 30 000 jobs would provide valuable insight for South African auto companies.

Houdet said learning from the Australian and EU crisis would be unpacked to industry at South African Automotive Week, by global manufacturing doyen and advisor to Australia’s shattered automotive industry, Goran Roos, whom Houdet says is “arguably the most capable of sharing these lessons.”

Roos would be a keynote speaker at the 2-day conference, which forms part of the South African Automotive Week Tradeshow at Gallagher Convention Centre on October 14 and 15.

“There are many learnings that the South African industry has to contemplate and implement to ensure the sustainability of our own industry,” Houdet said.


The shock announcement, within months, confirming the closures of Ford, GM Holden and Toyota in Australia by 2017, which is forcing manufacturers to re-invent themselves in order to stave off mass job losses, is one of the most talked about developments in recent manufacturing history.

Roos, a Swedish-born, celebrated academic across the globe and the founder or co-founder of several companies in different countries has worked as a consultant in more than 50 countries as well as having served in management positions in several European and US-based corporations. Most recently he has been supporting the Australian Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Manufacturing in Australia.

“The Australian scenario and the EU crisis which has virtually overnight decimated component manufacturers’ traditional markets, hold telling messages and learnings for African manufacturers….relating to competitiveness, input costs, strategic positioning and the importance of diversification,” says Houdet.

Economic modelling by the Productivity Commission of Australia has predicted that up to 39,000 jobs, mostly in Victoria and South Australia would be lost after the end of production by Ford, GM Holden and Toyota in the period 2016-17. This estimate comprises 11,120 direct jobs being lost at the car manufacturers, plus another 28,100 jobs in the car component supply chain.

South African Automotive Week Director Andrew Binning described the securing of Roos for South African Automotive Week, hosted every two years by the South African industry and government, as “a coup.”

“He has made numerous presentations on profitable manufacturing with reference to the EU crisis and Australia, is very eloquent and probably a vital, unobstructed and candid voice that South Africa must hear.”

“The industry conference over two days, would feature other top speakers including the CEO’s of Toyota SA, Nissan SA, NAACAM and SAACI, among others,” said South African Automotive Week Director Andrew Binning.

The decision to host the 4th edition of South African Automotive Week in Gauteng was facilitated by the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC).

Information or registration to participate in the Trade Show, the match-making meetings programme, site tours, conferences and networking functions is available online at or email:, or TEL: 0861 101 475.