Conscientious emission-curbing measures, and the resulting bullish effect that the production of catalytic converters has had on the price of platinum, have enabled component part exports to lift the overall performance of South Africa’s vehicle-manufacturing sector.
According to the latest edition of the Automotive Export Manual, converter exports increased from R20.36 billion in 2019 to R26bn in 2020, confirming the steady demand for converters that meet environmental standards.
The steadily growing strength of these exports, mainly to Europe, actually led to at least two records of sorts.
First is the combined value of component part exports – up from R53.7bn to R54.5bn.
Moreover, although there is considerable drag on domestic vehicle sales figures, the automotive industry posted a benchmark trade surplus of R48.2bn in 2020, despite the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
In retrospect, the impact of component part exports is even more pronounced in light of 2019’s overall results, when the automotive sector posted a trade surplus record of R27.1bn.
It’s almost hard to believe that between 2019 and 2020 the trade surplus in the sector grew by R21.1bn on the back of converters intended to ‘green-clean’ exhaust emissions.
However, vehicle exports fell R26bn from R201.7bn to R175.7bn, or from 387 092 units in 2019 to 271 288 in 2020, further underpinning the buoying effect of South African converters on the sector’s overall export performance.