South African car manufacturers are struggling to build cars because the ongoing strike in components manufacturing has choked off the supply of parts, adding to the woes of a sector badly hit by earlier labour unrest.
More than 30 000 workers at major carmakers (including Ford, Nissan and GM) returned to work this month after a strike for higher wages that cost the industry about R20-billion in lost output revenue over four weeks.
But workers in the parts and retail industry represented by the main manufacturing union, NUMSA, are on strike, shutting down the supply of key parts and components used to assemble vehicles.
"The impact has been huge, massive. We are only producing 85 cars instead of the normal 345 cars a day," said BMW SA's Guy Kilfoil.
The BMW plant would not be able to make up the lost prodution, he said. It lost 7900 vehicles from the auto workers' strike and expects to lose another 2300 by the end of this week because of the shortage of parts.
NUMSA has been pushing for double-digit wage hikes and better shift allowances, demands the Retail Motor Industry Organisation has said it would struggle to meet.
The situation was similar at the East London plant that produces the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
"We haven't been producing our passenger vehicle line since last week. Our commercial line for trucks and buses has been going, but could stop producing next week if the strike continues," spokeswoman Lynette Skriker said.
She said most of the plant's 2500 workers have been at home on short time due to the parts shortage. -Reuters