When you think vehicles and global warming, you probably wonder how your one, cute little VW Beetle or Chana van can contribute to so much environmental mayhem. Well, here’s how writes Patrick O’Leary. Firstly, you have to think beyond your vehicle and ask how many vehicles there are in the world and how many are being added to our puny, fragile little planet each year? The answer to the first question is that the current global vehicle population exceeds one billion vehicles. But here’s the real scary bit…
According to NAAMSA’s 1st quarter review for 2013 of business conditions for the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, global new motor vehicle production in 2012 reached an all-time record of 84 141 209 vehicles. This represents an increase of 4.26 million vehicles produced – or 5.3% more than the 79.88 million new vehicles produced in 2011. Eiieeesh! That’s a whack of exhausts being added to the existing billion already out there.
As a matter of interest, back in 2005, global vehicle production topped 66.55-million vehicles. This rose to 70.52-million in 2008 and plunged to 61.70-million in 2009 when the greed of international bankers plunged the world into economic chaos. Watch the banks now grab this figure and tell us they indulged in their shenanigans not for self gain but rather to reduce the number of vehicles in an honourable effort to save our planet. Mmmm!!!
And how does South Africa fit into this picture? According to the report, South African vehicle production rose to 539 538 vehicles in 2012 from 532 545 units produced in 2011 , an improvement of 6 993 vehicles or 1.3%. This represents 0.64% of the world’s global production. The report states that in 2013, South African vehicle production is expected to grow “substantially’ to about 640 000 units or some 18% in volume terms.
While our production figures may be low in global terms, the automotive industry’s contribution to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product is, however, substantial and is estimated at 7.0% for 2013 versus the figure for 2012 of 6.8%. According to NAAMSA, Econometrix are in the process of validating the estimate.
The automotive industry’s contribution to GDP takes account of the value addition in the broadly defined automotive sector and covers vehicle retail, distribution, repairs and servicing, auto parts production and vehicle production (including exports).
So we’re not doing too badly down here at the tail-end of the African continent. Given all this, the Government better get round to fixing our roads though. There’s a lot of extra vehicles heading for our highways.
As for the global vehicle manufacturers continuing to invest in technology that minimises exhaust emissions, the above figures tell us that this is not even a debate. It’s a must.
In this regard, the truck manufacturers – in the main – have done a sterling job. It’s now up to the South African government and the oil companies to move fast in upgrading our refineries so that we too can have clean fuel and do our bit for the environment with the latest low emission engine technologies that are available to us but cannot be introduced due to the low quality of our fuel.
Move it guys! You’re messing with the future of our kids!