The Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC) was established in 1999 and serves as the umbrella body for the South African automotive industry’s export promotion and development activities, and represents an important link between the industry and the Department of Trade and Industry (Dti). The AIEC represents the interests of seven major motor vehicle manufacturers/exporters, namely, BMW, Ford, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen, as well as 13 manufacturers/exporters of trucks and buses, and about 500 automotive component suppliers in South Africa.
The purpose of the AIEC is to provide a cost-effective means of assisting companies in the automotive sector that are currently exporting, may be interested in exporting in future, or may become capable of exporting in future. The activities and administration of the AIEC are coordinated by the AIEC Board. The AIEC Board of Directors consists of Mr Renai Moothilal (Executive Director – NAACAM – Chairperson), Mr Mike Mabasa (Chief Executive Officer – NAAMSA), Dr Norman Lamprecht (Executive Manager – NAAMSA), as well as two ex-officio members from the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Mzwakhe Mbatha and Mr Adriaan Adams.
Together with the Dti, the seven major light vehicle OEMs and NAACAM currently fund the AIEC as a way of contributing towards developing, broadening and deepening the automotive supply chain in the country, and also to support smaller enterprises to ultimately become part of the supply chain.
Export promotion mechanisms that are employed by Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) and the Dti, through support from the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) scheme, include national pavilions at trade shows, trade missions, and investment and trade initiatives. These interventions are aimed at creating visibility and market access for South African automotive component manufacturers to enable them to diversify into new export markets, as well as to integrate into global and regional value chains.
One of the AIEC’s key service offerings to stimulate export growth and deepen the export base is to facilitate participation in major automotive events abroad. Personal contact at trade shows, in particular those with a regional impact, remains a priority focus in the pursuit of opportunities. This is an effective way of establishing and building business relationships and forms the foundation for business strategies.