Australian adviser to present learnings in South Africa

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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.

Roos, the author of over 100 books, was named one of the 13 most influential thinkers for the 21st Century by the Spanish business journal “Direccion y Progreso” and was appointed “Manufacturing for the Future” Thinker in Residence by the South Australian Premier and member of the Australian Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Leaders Group last year.

His speech titled “The future of manufacturing in Australia: Innovation and productivity” was named among the Top 10 most influential and interesting speeches by the Australian government.

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.”
Binning said the industry Conference over 2 days, would feature other top speakers including the CEO’s of Toyota SA, Nissan SA, NAACAM and SAACI, among others.

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

AIDC CEO, Barlow Manilal said: “The Week will not only position the Gauteng province as the automotive investment destination of choice, but also showcase South Africa’s manufacturing capability globally. Gauteng’s automotive value proposition will be a key theme of the event.

Houdet said the South African Automotive Week was remarkable in its “unparalleled ability to bring together and make accessible, automotive stakeholders representing all levels of government, its agencies and industry.’’
“This is truly an event for industry by industry and the role of the AIDC has strengthened the brand and its ability to maximise its objectives, which are to showcase South Africa’s manufacturing capability, facilitate trade and empower suppliers with access to cutting edge information, networks and markets,’’ Houdet said.

“Ultimately as a South African collective, The Week is the gathering place and showcase of automotive role-players, including government departments and their products, services and contribution to the manufacturing sector.

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 phone: 0861 101 475.

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