Major changes predicted for motor industry

Electric vehicles, autonomously-driven vehicles, Uber and shared vehicles, as well as a change in market control by the original equipment manufacturers, are all upcoming events predicted to change the face of the motor industry in the next 10 years and beyond.

These were some of the topics raised at the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) conference at Automechanika.

Jooste, Director of Innovation at Sebokeng Campus - VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park, addressed delegates on the workshop of the future and shared predictions made by US company, RethinkX.

“According to RethinkX, from the early 2020, a family will save R68 000 per year by not owning a vehicle and by 2030 new car sales will drop by 70% in the US.”

“The international move away from internal combustion engines to hybrid or electric cars will mean that, due to economies of scale, electric cars will become more affordable. The maintenance costs of electric cars are 10% of those associated with combustion engines. A combustion engine has 2000 parts compared to an electric car that has 20. This is going to impact the role of the repairer.”

He added that while the ecological argument for moving to electric cars is sound there are still very real challenges including hacking, the price and theft of copper, battery problems and so on.

He also pointed out that every new Uber vehicle replaces the new sale of 18 to 20 privately-owned vehicles in Europe.

“It’s worth considering than many people walk and commute in Europe since the distances are smaller. There is more need for vehicles that travel further distances in SA so the adoption of using Uber in SA could be even greater,” says Jooste.

A more pressing issue he raised is the current situation with the coding of parts and what it means for vehicle owners who need car repairs.

“The coding of more and more parts on the vehicle means that consumers are forced to repair their vehicles at original equipment manufacturers or dealers. This is costly and removes their right to choose.”

He referred to the motor industry code of conduct currently under review and strongly urged it to be reviewed on the premise of what is best for the consumer.

Gunther Schmitz, Vice Chairman of Right to Repair SA (R2RSA) said the campaign is about fair competition which leads to broad-based economic growth, a more competitive industry and better offerings for the consumer. What this means is that parts prices will decrease.

Authorised repairers are perceived as having a premium status within the repair sector, despite the fact that surveys generally tend to show little difference with regard to the quality of the services provided.

“We expect a small shift from dealers to independent aftermarket for repairs on newer vehicles but a higher customer retention rate of dealerships due to improved service. In the end, those offering the best service will benefit,” he says.

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