South Africa rolls out red carpet for EVs. But brands unwilling to walk

The South African government announced 150 per cent tax deduction for automakers investing in EV factories but Volkswagen AG and Isuzu Motors Ltd. exp
...
South Africa
South Africa has done little to entice EV makers in investing in facilities and the 25 per cent import duty on EVs makes things worse for the market. (Bloomberg)
South Africa
South Africa has done little to entice EV makers in investing in facilities and the 25 per cent import duty on EVs makes things worse for the market.

Volkswagen AG and Isuzu Motors Ltd. have expressed skepticism about South Africa’s plans to develop electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle industries. While the government in February announced that automakers will be allowed to claim a 150 per cent tax deduction on investment in facilities to make the vehicles, the local heads of both companies said they’ll stay focused on internal combustion engine vehicles.

The country’s automotive industry, which accounted for more than 271 billion rand ($14.5 billion) in exports last year, is currently dependent on shipments to the European Union where legislation is expected to gradually reduce demand for vehicles that run on diesel and gasoline.

Also check these Cars

Find more Cars
Hyundai Kona Electric 2024 (HT Auto photo)
UPCOMING
BatteryCapacity Icon64.8 kWh Range Icon418 Km
₹ 25 Lakhs
Alert Me When Launched
Volkswagen Id.4 (HT Auto photo)
UPCOMING
BatteryCapacity Icon77kWh Range Icon418 km
₹ 50 - 60 Lakhs
Alert Me When Launched
Isuzu V-cross (HT Auto photo)
Engine Icon1898 cc FuelType Icon Diesel
₹ 25.52 - 30.96 Lakhs
Compare
View Offers
Hyundai Kona Electric (HT Auto photo)
BatteryCapacity Icon39.2kWh Range Icon452
₹ 23.79 - 23.98 Lakhs
Compare
View Offers
Tata Avinya (HT Auto photo)
UPCOMING
Range Icon500 km
₹ 30 - 60 Lakhs
Alert Me When Launched
Volkswagen Polo 2024 (HT Auto photo)
UPCOMING
Engine Icon999 cc FuelType IconPetrol
₹ 8 Lakhs
Alert Me When Launched

“They won’t call on us to make battery electric vehicles here" as there is enough capacity in Europe and transport costs would be lower, Martina Biene, chairwoman and managing director of Volkswagen South Africa, said at a conference in Gqeberha, close to her company’s 165,000 vehicle-per-year factory in the country. “We are not in the long run the exporter to Europe anymore." Instead, she said the company is likely to focus on selling fuel-powered cars locally and to other markets in Africa.

Also Read : Mercedes, Ford, VW face lawsuits worth $7.6 bn for cheating emissions tests in UK

That position was echoed by Billy Tom, the chief executive officer of Isuzu’s South African unit. “We mustn’t rush and let go what we have," he said, adding that he expects internal combustion engine vehicles to dominate African demand for the next 20 to 50 years. “I don’t see big growth in Africa" for so-called new-energy vehicles, he said. Biene is also president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers while Tom is president of South Africa’s National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers.

Does South Africa want EVs?

South Africa has also done little to develop a domestic market for the vehicles, the executives said. The country has a poorly developed network of electric charging stations and imposes a 25 per cent tax on electric vehicle imports, while some traditional cars don’t attract any levy. Last year just 7,700 new energy vehicles were sold in South Africa, with 85 per cent of those being hybrids, according to Tom. Total new vehicle sales in the year amounted to 532,000 and just under 400,000 were exported.

Still, Mike Whitfield, the managing director of Stellantis NV’s South African unit, said the company’s first South African factory, which is due to start up by the end of next year, may in the future produce new energy vehicles.

Both Biene and Tom stressed the potential of the African market, with between three and five million second-hand vehicles imported into the continent annually. Those, they said, could be replaced by new vehicles that would be cheaper and cleaner to run.

First Published Date: 12 Jun 2024, 19:49 PM IST
NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS

Check Latest Offers

Please provide your details to get Personalized Offers

Choose city
+91 | Choose city
Choose city

Want to get the best price for your existing car?

Powered by: Spinny Logo
By clicking "View Offers" you Agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy
Dear Name

Please verify your mobile number.

+91 | Choose city
Couldn't verify the OTP.
It's either expired or it's incorrect.