The automotive sector in South Africa started around the 1920's when assembly plants were introduced by Ford and General. The result was increasing new car sales. During the 1930's, the beginning of the Great Depression stopped the growth of the sector, until the late 1930s when car sales increased again. After which a new arrival in the market of a new third assembly company called the National Motor Assembly of Johannesburg. After World War II, the automotive sector in South Africa expanded even more and quicker. The domestic market grew rapidly and production levels were the best compared to other developing countries in that particular time. Currently the automotive sector in South Africa is made of light vehicles assembles and 11 producers of medium and heavy commercial vehicles. When it comes to market share, the best producer of cars and light commercial vehicles is Toyota. .
The automotive sector in South Africa is a world-wide charged engine for the producer and export of cars and parts. "Many of the major multinational companies use South Africa to source parts and assemble vehicles for the local and international markets" (Van der Merwe, 2009). This sector is an important sector in the country because it contributes approximately 6% to GDP and 12% of exports thus making it an important component in the economy. In automotive manufacturing 25,000 and more people are employed directly and in the component producing industry, 65,000 people are employed. In retail and aftermarket activities, about 200,000 are employed and 6600 employed in the tyre manufacturing industry.
The South African government has seen the automotive sector as a main growth sector because of its ability to link through the economy. Under the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP), it already made major growth, which doubled in size since 1994. In 2013, its follower, the Automotive Production & Development Programme was made.