Warnings that new local entrants in the vehicle components industry risk their products becoming obsolete because of rapid advances in technology and materials are unfounded, says Ugo Frigerio, president of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam). Critics of government automotive policy warn that pressure for more local investment, particularly by small black industrialists, ignores the fact that many of the parts that go into today’s cars and commercial vehicles, will not be around much longer. They will either disappear altogether or require different materials. The most obvious example is the global shift away from the internal combustion engine, towards all-electric motors. But there are many more, less obvious changes across the entire automotive design chain. Volkswagen SA MD Thomas Schaefer says a scattergun approach to future local content is risky. The government and industry should take a long-term strategic view on what component...

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