More jobs in car manufacturing in first quarter

Employment in the vehicle manufacturing industry increased by 0.75 percent to 30 032 jobs at the end of

PRETORIA – A total of 224 jobs were created in the new motor vehicle manufacturing industry in the first quarter of this year, despite low production capacity utilisation at two plants.

Employment in the industry increased by 0.75percent to 30032 jobs at the end of March from the 29808 industry headcount at the end of December, according to the latest quarterly review of business conditions for the industry and automotive sector released this week by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

Naamsa director Nico Vermeulen said employment increased, despite capacity utilisation levels at two plants.

Vermeulen said that capacity utilisation mirrored prevailing business conditions in the various industry segments in terms of domestic and export sales.

Capacity utilisation at BMW in Rosslyn would have been impacted by the last BMW 3-Series rolling off the production line in February and production of the new BMW X3 only commencing from the beginning of last month.

The other plant that impacted the levels was not identified.

The report revealed that 70.4percent capacity utilisation was achieved for cars in the first quarter compared to 78percent last year. Light commercial vehicles scored 74.1percent against 85.3percent last year.

Capital expenditure reached a new industry record of R8.7billion last year.

However, the report did not provide projections for 2018, because one domestic vehicle manufacturer, believed to be Mercedes-Benz South Africa, declined to provide its planned capital expenditure.

South African vehicle production was projected to increase 5.6percent to 635050 units this year from 601178 units last year.

The country’s share of global new vehicle production declined to 0.62percent last year from 0.63percent in 2016, it said.