Many important movers and shakers in automotive industry will attend Johannesburg International Motor Show

16 October, 2013

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The Johannesburg International Motor Show is not only a biennial occasion for the local motor industry to roll out their latest and greatest in terms of products and services, but the Expo Centre also proves an ideal venue for exposing important executives from source companies to the media and local industry bodies as well as providing an opportunity to meet with senior government representatives.

This is the only time in a two-year cycle where virtually all the senior local industry executives are seen at one place, often accompanied by high-ranking executives from overseas. This all adds up to the Johannesburg International Motor Show being the ideal environment for networking by members of the motor industry.

This year’s event will have a very eminent member of the global motor industry hierarchy as a first time visitor. This person is the CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally. Many other companies will also be fielding heavyweights from their source company executive ranks, but Mullaly is certainly one of the highest ranked industry personalities to have attended Africa’s premier motor show.

Two major industry conferences will also take place at this year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show, providing further opportunities in which the industry can interact and learn from experts in a variety of fields. The CAR Conference, which has been an integral part of the programme at these shows since 1996 will be staged for the ninth time,, while this year there will be a commercial vehicle conference too.

This year’s CAR Conference, which has attracted a large audience of industry people, has the very topical Technology & Change as the overall theme, with the keynote speaker being a renowned expert on consumer electronics in motor vehicles, Doug Newcomb, of the US. He has been involved with this topic for the past 25 years and is a very accomplished speaker.

The conference will be take place on Wednesday, October 23, at Expo Centre and will be chaired by the CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), Barlow Manilal.

The Department of Trade and Industry will be represented by its deputy director-general, Industrial Development Policy Development, Garth Strachan, who will address the government’s vision for the SA automotive industry and how it is developing policies to improve the industry’s competitiveness.

The president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (NAAMSA), Dr Johan van Zyl, who is the president and CEO of Toyota SA, will give his views on the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which replaced the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) at the beginning of this year and the viability of making 1.2-million vehicles a year in SA by 2020.

Other speakers at this much-anticipated conference will be the president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz, Dr. Martin Zimmerman, the SA-born Head of Design: Colour and Trim, at Volkswagen AG, Oona Scheepers, the FNB chief economist, Sizwe Nxedlana, the CEO of the Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI), Jakkie Olivier, and a doyen of the local motor industry who is now a director of companies, Brand Pretorius.

The commercial vehicle conference, which will be held on Thursday, October 24, also has a comprehensive speaker line-up, with seven presenters.

Frank Beeton, of Econometrix, who is one of the conference organisers, will set the scene with an overview of the SA truck and bus industry including a look at medium term prospects. Adrian van Tonder, of Barloworld Logistics will present a model for the efficient, legal and sustainable truck operation in SA.

A senior lecturer in the Department of Transport and Supply Chain at the University of Johannesburg, Dr. Vaughan Mostert, will look at the future of public transport in SA, while Paul Nordengen, research group leader at the CSIR, will make a presentation on Performance-based standards – a new way to configure truck specifications.

A late change to the programme sees Geoff du Plessis, who returned to SA recently to take over as executive chairman of MAN Truck & Bus, giving his the impressions and reflections as a South African truck executive abroad in the global industry.

Patrick O’Leary, the owner and editor of Fleetwatch magazine, will talk on his favourite topic of road safety and Ian Byers, founder of the Scott-Byers Network research company, will round off a very comprehensive morning of presentations when he gives details of his company’s comparative customer satisfaction awards for sales, service and parts in the SA truck industry.

All in all there are a host of opportunities for those involved in the SA automotive industry to learn lessons and gain a wide range of useful information on important topics during the period that the Johannesburg International Motor Show and the co-hosted Johannesburg Truck & Bus Show from October 18-27 at Expo Centre, Nasrec.