Japanese disaster may impact local car industry

2011-05-09 11:45

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster could have a negative impact on local car producers in the medium-term, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) has said.

“Over the medium term, component and vehicle shortages could have a negative, but hopefully temporary impact on local Japanese product producers and importers,” Naamsa said in its quarterly review of business conditions submitted to the department of trade and industry.

But for the quarter ended March 2011, the availability and supply of imported original equipment components remained satisfactory.

Aggregate industry employment improved by 51 jobs during the first quarter to 28 179 jobs, Naamsa said.

The industry’s average capacity utilisation levels during the quarter improved in all sectors and were nearing the historic highs achieved in 2006.

“Inventory replenishment, higher production for export markets and the domestic market were the main contributing factors,” Naamsa said.

In the first quarter, aggregate industry new car sales improved 26 percent to 102,185 units. In the corresponding previous quarter 81,447 units were sold.

Aggregate industry commercial vehicle sales in the first quarter improved 15 percent to 45,533 units compared to the previous corresponding quarter.

Naamsa said research by Econometrix showed that the automotive industry’s contribution to gross domestic product during 2010 was 6.2 percent compared to 2009’s figure of 5.9 percent.

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