These are the car brands South Africa exports – and where they’re going

Research and data group Lightstone has published a new report showing how South Africa auto export industry has changed since 1994 – which car brands we’re exporting, and which countries are getting them.

According to Lightstone, although South Africa has seen its share of economic hard ships in the last several years, the automotive industry has increased exponentially since 1994.

The group calculated that vehicle exports for South Africa in 1994 were at 14,067 vehicles, compared to the 222,252 vehicles exported at the end of 2017.

“One of the key attributes to the growth in the last 13 years is government’s introduction of the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) of 1995,” Lightstone said. “The MIDP aligned with international standards and ethics was one of the biggest catalysts for growth in the country’s automotive industry.”

There has also been quite a shift in who’s importing South African-produced cars.

China, who by many can be thought of as South Africa’s biggest trade partner, was a major contributor in 1994 with 6,375 vehicle imports from South Africa – yet in 2017 the super power only accounted for 383 vehicle exports.

Due to strengthened foreign relations, the United Kingdom was South Africa’s most lucrative exporting partner with 54,402 vehicles in 2017. Germany was the only European country to import SA vehicles in 1994, where it took two.

“South Africa’s geographical reach has also increased significantly since 1994 from 13 to 101 countries who hold export contracts. Export orders have been filed for as far as Malta, Mexico and even Honduras,” Lightstone said.

On the home front, 38 of Africa’s 54 countries have trade relations with South Africa’s vehicle manufacturers, as opposed to only 11 in 1994.

The only constant within the comparison between the years (1994 and 2017) is the vehicle brand manufacturers who hold export contracts, the group said.

In an assessment of export numbers in 2017 and 2016, exports decreased and according to Lightstone.

This is possibly because of a drop in investor confidence when the state capture saga reached its peak, it said. Under new leadership South Africa could possibly see a decent surge in exports by the end of 2018.

10 biggest importers – 1994 vs 2017

1994 2017
Country Imports Country Imports
China 6 375 United Kingdom 54 402
Zimbabwe 4 027 United States 36 699
Zambia 1 215 France 19 055
Malawi 1 149 Japan 13 438
Mozambique 763 Turkey 12 145
Mauritius 393 Germany 10 413
Kenya 92 Australia 7 814
Tanzania 34 Poland 5 285
Angola 7 Italy 5 088
Uganda 5 Ghana 3 718

These are the brands of vehicles South Africa exports

Vehicle brand
Land Rover

Read: These are the best second-hand cars to buy in South Africa right now

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These are the car brands South Africa exports – and where they’re going