[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hris de Kock, the CEO of WesBank, who set the cat among the pigeons with his downbeat forecast for vehicle sales at the Car of the Year awards evening in March, has joined the list of speakers lined up for the biennial CAR Conference, which takes place on September 1, during the SA Festival of Motoring at the Kyalami Circuit and Conference Centre.
There were gasps when De Kock pronounced in March that WesBank predicted a decrease of 12% in total vehicle sales in 2016 compared to 2015. However, it seems his prophesy is pretty well on track as the year-to-date decline at the end of July was 11%. Nobody else had forecast such a big fall in sales volume.
“Disruption” and “disruptive trends” are current buzzwords in the global automotive world and they are going to be significant in a number of presentations at this year’s conference, where the theme is: “Consumer trends and disruption: How South African automakers can drive the change required to adapt to a new future.”
De Kock will examine disruption in the automotive finance industry in his presentation.
Keynote addresses at the conference will be delivered by Martin Briggs from the United Kingdom and Mark Lamberti, the CEO of the Imperial Holdings Group.
Briggs is the industry principal who leads the Mobility team at Frost & Sullivan, an international company which provides detailed market research and consulting advice in this sphere. He is recognised as a thought leader on a range of Urban Mobility topics, especially car-sharing business models and the integration of public transport with road-based mobility services.
The title of Briggs’ presentation at the CAR Conference is: “Megatrends and the future of mobility.”
Lamberti will talk to the topic “Leadership in times of economic downturn and consumer disruption”. Lamberti is currently busy restructuring the Imperial Group’s automotive division in preparation for the impending retirement of Manny da Canha, the kingpin in the imported car section of this division, so his presentation will be very topical.
The all-day conference will conclude with a panel discussion on “The state of the South African automotive industry and change required to compete in world markets.” The panel will consist of Mike Whitfield, the president of NAAMSA; Jeff Osborne, the head of Gumtree Automotive; Thomas Schaefer, the president and CEO of Volkswagen South Africa, Chris de Kock of WesBank, and Dave Duarte, the founder of Treeshake.
The conference will once again enjoy sponsorship from Tracker, while this year Gumtree has come in as an additional sponsor too.
The CAR Conference was held for the first time in 1996 as part of Auto Africa and subsequently at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. Over the years it has become South Africa’s definitive conference for the broader motor industry and an important showcase for the latest trends and possible developments for the future.
There is an “early bird” offering of R1 995 per person if the booking is made before August 15. The group rate is R1 695 for groups of five or more delegates, while late bookings, made from August 16, will cost R2 495 per person.