Following South Africa’s democratic elections in 1994, the automotive industry has faced two challenging decades of dynamic change. Dynamic change can be both good and bad, or positive and negative, but either way the forces of change are powerful. In the midst of these powerful forces is Partinform.
Extremely positive changes and opportunities presented themselves to the South African automotive industry after 1994, primarily because South Africa became part of the global economy, with automotive assemblers and component manufacturers gaining reasonably unfettered access to the markets of the world, but on the other hand South Africa was not immune to the opposite effect, and as an emerging market seen as an attractive market to the folks across the waters.
Legally, administratively and psychologically South Africa was ill-prepared to absorb, let alone control, the tsunami of imports into our ports, and this resulted in a dramatic impact on the way automotive parts were distributed to the aftermarket channels, and an equally dramatic variance in the quality of product on offer. Inferior quality parts have become a major headache for reputable manufacturers. This challenge was already identified in the 1980’s by the Manufacturers Trade Day Association, which had been originally established as a trade night co-operative. It forced them to reassess their priorities, which brought about the formation of Partinform, consisting of the same manufacturers, but with the new objective to educate the motor trade on the professional benefits of only using guaranteed quality branded parts.
Secondary, but equally important objectives included the need to warn of the obvious dangers of unsuitable parts with regard to vehicle performance and road safety. Additional concerns were the possible consequences and ramifications of significant imports impacting the viability of local manufacturing facilities, and the serious social consequences of rising unemployment.
Partinform, in its various guises, has now been active for three decades, and comprises 18 local companies, representing the cream of the crop of quality branded product in South Africa. They pool their resources, and hold regular trade shows across southern Africa to get their important message across to the automotive aftermarket, targeting the very important constituency of resellers and fitters.
Partinform has evolved into a professional unit, and each year finds innovative ways to not only display product and discuss technical aspects, but to move to education on the issues of the day. The formula is to encourage professional interaction with the Partinform companies, with stands manned by senior managers and technical experts; interspersed with entertainment, prizes, refreshments, quiz shows, and the chance to participate in motor related events.
Those employed in the automotive parts industry are invited to join Automotive Business Review in Bethlehem.