Hot on the heels of the efforts of the Coega industrial development zone’s attempts to attract investment to South Africa’s Port Elizabeth area (reinforced by a conference in Port Elizabeth last week), the Gauteng region of South Africa has unveiled its plans for an automotive supplier park.

In a press release issued today, the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA) said that its automotive supplier park concept is based on grouping different automotive technologies, suppliers and service providers with manufacturers, which currently include BMW, Fiat, Ford and Nissan. 

The 100-hectare site (1,000,000 m2) is located in South Africa’s ‘economic hub Gauteng’, the province that encompasses Johannesburg and Pretoria.

A Logistics Centre, covering over 15,000 square metres, is at the heart of the ASP operations. The centre will fulfil all logistics requirements for both the suppliers and manufacturers.

“South Africa is still viewed as a resources-based economy yet our motor industry is as important for export earnings as our gold industry,” explains Angela Kays, Manager UK/Europe, Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA). “The ASP will become a centre of excellence that will push the South African automotive industry to the forefront of the global market.”

The ASP is described by GEDA as one aspect of Gauteng’s Automotive Cluster, an aggregation of automotive assemblers, component manufacturers and material suppliers, collectively responsible for around 40 per cent of South Africa’s automotive industry production.  The second component in the cluster is the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), which provides facilities for automotive design and testing, as well as research and development.

Blue IQ, an economic infrastructure development programme of the Gauteng Provincial Government, committed an initial R200 million (£17 million) towards the development of the first phase of the ASP.  Further capital injection, estimated between R600 and R800 million (£50 – £65 million), is required from private and institutional investors in order to reach full maturity.

Other features of the Park include ‘Mini Factories’ where smaller operations share building space. A central hub has been completed with approximately 2,000 square meters of office space alongside conference facilities, a retail centre and a canteen.

Jochen Freese, Managing Director for the Automotive Supplier Park Development Company (SPDC), said: “The project is a pioneering concept in that it will enable the local automotive industry to prosper due to its main focus on logistics and automotive manufacturing chain processes. The development of the ASP is in response to the global trend in which car manufacturers are under increasing pressure to develop and implement new models while improving efficiency and saving costs.”