The so-called pan­demic, fol­lowed by the cur­rent ‘casedemic’, not to men­tion South Africa’s unique brand of a ‘plun­demic’, con­tinue to wreak havoc in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. Rev­enues and prof­its are down and losses are up.

The global au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is ex­pected to see a 20% de­cline in yearon-year sales for the full year. Euro­pean au­tomak­ers seem to be par­tic­u­larly hard hit with a drop of 39.5% in sales dur­ing the first half of the year, com­pared to the US (-23.5%) and China (-22.5%) dur­ing the same pe­riod. South Africa did not fare much bet­ter with year-to-date sales down 34.6% com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, in­di­cat­ing the very harsh re­al­ity of the lock­down mad­ness.

A small sil­ver lin­ing ap­pears to be elec­tric ve­hi­cles, par­tic­u­larly in Europe, where sales of elec­tric ve­hi­cles have nearly quadru­pled to just shy of 10% of to­tal mar­ket share. Equally sur­pris­ing, Tesla proved to be vir­tu­ally im­per­vi­ous to the lock­down en­forced fac­tory shut­downs as the Sil­i­con Val­ley com­pany posted near record deliveries for the first half of 2020, while re­main­ing prof­itable dur­ing the first two quar­ters. Tesla’s stock price fol­lowed an even steeper tra­jec­tory with a five-fold in­crease dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times.

Here at Driven magazine we have faced sim­i­lar chal­lenges brought on by the lock­down. With our pri­mary de­liv­ery chan­nels closed dur­ing lock­down, we have not been able to print the magazine since May. For­tu­nately we have the largest dig­i­tal sub­scriber base in our in­dus­try, and as such have been able to con­tinue pub­lish­ing the magazine in dig­i­tal for­mat dur­ing lock­down.

The good news is that our pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels will open again soon, al­low­ing us to re­sume our print pub­li­ca­tion in the com­ing months. As a magazine and a com­pany, we re­main com­mit­ted to both print and dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing, and we see it as our duty to par­tic­i­pate in the re­cov­ery of the South African econ­omy. As such we are launch­ing our new web­site this month, and our entire team is back on the road test­ing cars and re­main com­mit­ted to our pas­sion for mo­tor­ing ex­cel­lence!

On be­half of our team I wish to thank our pre­vi­ous edi­tor, Ler­ato Matebese, for his ser­vice to Driven magazine, and we wish him the very best with his next ven­ture in our in­dus­try. While we miss his kind pres­ence, we con­tinue on the course of ex­cel­lence that he has set. We re­main Driven! Wil­helm Loots

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