The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen the global competitiveness of the local automotive industry.

The CSIR partnership with AIDC, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, signals a significant milestone in advancing the growth and development of the South African automotive industry.

The MoU, the CSIR said, provides a framework for joint programmes and co-development initiatives with an intent to bolster the sector.

Acting CSIR group executive, Sipho Mbhokota, said he was elated about this move, which also has the potential to unlock employment.

“We are proud to partner with the AIDC to strengthen the global competitiveness of the local automotive industry. By supporting the growth of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and driving innovation, we aim to create a thriving industry ecosystem and contribute to economic growth,” said Mbhokota.

EO of AIDC, Andile Africa, echoed Mbhokota’s sentiments.

“Our partnership with the CSIR is a crucial step towards driving growth and innovation in the local automotive industry. By embracing smart factory technologies and focusing on skills development, we will enhance efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness. We are committed to propelling the industry to new heights of sustainability and global recognition,” added Africa.

The deal seeks to collaborate on critical areas that are vital for the industry’s success, including the growth and development of SMMEs within the South African automotive industry.

“The organisations believe that providing targeted support and resources will help SMMEs to thrive and contribute to the industry ecosystem. This commitment to SMMEs underscores their importance in driving innovation and economic growth,” the statement read.

New energy vehicles

The CSIR and AIDC will also work together on road mapping sector studies related to new energy vehicles (Nevs).

“The partners will explore the conversion and retrofitting of current internal combustion engines to Nevs, as well as opportunities for local availability and conversion of public transport vehicles such as Nev buses.”

According to the statement, the partners will also investigate the establishment of a public NEV charging station at the CSIR, the localisation of charging stations and cross-sector opportunities in battery manufacturing.

“This collaboration aims to pave the way for a sustainable and eco-friendly automotive industry.”

Cutting-edge concepts

In addition, they will delve into cutting-edge concepts such as plant simulation, modelling and optimisation, as well as equipment localisation and industry support initiatives.

“By harnessing smart factory technologies, automotive manufacturers will gain the ability to enhance efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness, driving growth and innovation.”

Meanwhile, the fourth industrial revolution forms part of the collaboration.

The parties will provide theoretical, practical and experiential training to equip the workforce with the necessary expertise to thrive in the rapidly evolving automotive landscape.

Through combined expertise, the CSIR and AIDC are committed to creating a globally recognised industry and fuelling it to new heights of innovation, competitiveness and sustainability.


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