South African vehicle components manufacturers are making significant gains in quality, productivity and cost competitiveness but still struggling to close the gap on emerging-market competitors, according to a report published on Tuesday. It finds that while there are plenty of domestic reasons for the components supply industry to be bullish — employment is rising, sales revenue is up in real terms, and vehicle manufacturers plan to increase orders — improving global competitiveness is often matched by that of other countries’ industries. The South African Automotive Supplier Industry Benchmark Report, by B&M Analysts, compares SA directly with other up-and-coming industries in India, Mexico and Hungary. More than 60% of the value of parts built into SA-produced vehicles is imported. Suppliers say the low volumes they are called on to produce — SA accounts for less than 1% of global vehicle production — make it impossible for them to be cost-competitive with overseas suppliers tha...

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