“We couldn’t sell a product and the revenue line came to a standstill. We did not generate any revenue during that period but there were people working from home, those not involved in production those that do the office work. So they were doing work behind the scenes but from a sales point of view it meant we weren’t generating any funds which is something unheard of in the history of our business.”
Before the pandemic, businesses in this metro were already struggling due to political instability and an unstable economic environment. The introduction of the lockdown and subsequent economic restrictions and regulations have highlighted the complex nature of issues businesses face.
The lockdown affected four key performance indicators in the automotive sector: namely production, sales, imports and exports. All these indicators slowed down this year to meet the slow demand and standstill of business. The ports reopened their import and export commodities in April solely to decongest the logistic supply chain, specifically the ports and vessels ready to offload critical components. Port Manager at Port Elizabeth, Rajesh Dana, says the underperformance of exports and imports was expected.
“Throughout lockdown, we have seen reduced volumes, significantly reduced volumes. Both on the imports and exports of automotive units we’ve seen an underperformance of approximately 40% and we envisage that it will continue for the remainder of the year. We envisage the full recovery of the automotive sector in two to three years time reaching back to our original pre-COVID volumes.”
Sixty-four percent of all manufactured cars in South Africa are exported.
“We’ve seen a huge global decline for new vehicles. We’ve also seen a huge decline globally because South Africans are going through a recession and a lot of people are not able to buy new vehicles because of the current economic climate. And that has obviously had a huge impact on the demand for vehicles in South Africa.”
Industry leaders hope to return to their original production volumes by 2023.
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