Why is South Africa the golden opportunity for automotive market innovation?
More than 60,000 car fanatics celebrated all things automotive at this year’s South African Festival of Motoring, held at the famous Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Midrand, Johannesburg over the weekend, 31 August — 2 September. As well as new car launches, supercars on track and the latest designs on display, many fans were keen to see the range of interactive technologies in action, designed to improve the driver experience, as well as the way cars, are bought and sold throughout the African market.
Bright Box brought its AI-first connected car technology platform, Remoto, to the festival, showcasing its advanced tech by connecting attendees in South Africa with a Remoto-equipped car more than 15,000 km away in Moscow. By demonstrating its ability to start the car, open the doors and turn on the air conditioning — all via smartphone, Bright Box was able to give a powerful display of how connected car technology is changing the entire driver and car interface and influencing the future of motoring.
The African automotive market
The African market represents around one-third of all automotive sales across the Middle East and Africa, excluding Iran.
As part of its global growth plan, Bright Box has set its sights on three main markets in the African continent: South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco. These three markets all have major sales potential due to their size, population growth and increasing wealth; a developed OEM presence and a desire to take on new technologies at a rapid rate to help transform their economies and living standards.
South Africa, in particular, is a key market as it represents more than 50% of all new car sales across Africa. South Africa is also a manufacturing and assembly hub for a number of OEM’s serving not only the internal market, but exporting to a number of destinations mainly across the sub-Saharan region and beyond.
And as for the latest new car sales figures for South Africa, NAAMSA reports over 32,000 sold in July 2018, a healthy 4.3% increase over the previous year. Sales to the car rental industry contributed nearly 19% of that total figure.
Africans — A Young and Tech Savvy Consumer
African society is changing — quickly. It has a growing number of skilled workers, a rapidly expanding urban population, and a median age of just over 19 years(to put that into perspective Northern Europe has a median age of 40 years).
Analysts forecast that by 2050 Africa’s population is going to grow to over 2.5bn- making it a bigger market than China and India. Nigeria is projected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia coming in at ninth and tenth.
Many of Africa’s young consumers are tech savvy. Africa was the first place to adopt mobile payments in a big way, in Kenya 48.9% of the entire countries GDP was transacted using M-Pesa. African Analysis forecasts that the IoT installed base in South Africa will reach 35 million by 2020. IoT could solve many of the issues Africa is facing. Africans understand the value that the information age brings to the consumer experience. Connected cars like connected things are becoming mainstream here. But with the connected car locals can make their driving experience safer and more enjoyable and ensure that they are getting the right post-sales care and service from their car dealer and insurer.
As for business, Foreign Direct Investment into Africa was $42 billion in 2017, according to United Nations statistics and this flow of cash, combined with comparatively low operating costs for business indicate the potential for rapidly growing economies and the accompanying rise in a middle class which has money to spend on cars and technology.
How can connected car technology help drivers, manufacturers, and dealers?
Connected car technology is not new to the continent. In fact, connected car technologies have been used in South Africa and the wider region for several years. Those solutions have predominantly focused on fleet operations and security tracking, but signs are emerging that the consumer market is now ready to embrace the concept and the reality of the connected car. According to the local Standard Bank, with an impending boom in automotive innovation, South African businesses will need to put time, resources and energy into catching up to the connective technology that it’s international competitors are leveraging, or risk falling behind global industry benchmarks.
With state of the art, cutting-edge technology, powered by Artificial Intelligence, Bright Box is addressing the increasingly sophisticated and complex needs of automotive consumers and the supply chain. Remoto creates a unique aggregated information platform for dealerships and customers alike — all via a mobile app. The telematics solution powered by Bright Box provides a great deal of data, including central lock status, fuel level, battery level, odometer, tire pressure, and temperature, while customers have access their driving history and parking time. Consumers are looking for these practical, digital functionalities that will enhance vehicle ownership and their relationship with the car dealer and manufacturer. As for car dealers and OEM’s, Bright Box offers a one-stop shop of integrated technology solutions that addresses their needs, whether they are looking for a customer retention tool; cost savings through improved operational efficiencies; a solution for drivers to remotely control their vehicles and manage car security, or even develop a car sharing platform for businesses or consumers.
Taking part in the leading interactive motoring event in Africa, bringing the best in global motoring design, technology and performance together, was a great opportunity for Bright Box to share its exciting vision of a connected, smarter integrated future for African drivers, manufacturers and dealers.
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For now, the South African market is looking very attractive, with the potential to absorb into its infrastructure many more vehicles than it currently has. African society definitely understands that there is a significant need for the connected car solutions that Bright Box can provide them with. And we’re sure that our connected car application, Remoto, can be developed to include a much wider selection of features to meet the specific demands and expectations of the African marketplace.
Bright Box believes in the potential of the Africa of today and the Africa of tomorrow. Taking part in the leading interactive motoring festival in Africa, bringing the best in global motoring design, technology and performance together, was a great opportunity for us to share its exciting vision of a connected, smarter integrated future for African drivers, manufacturers and dealers.`
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