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This year under review arguably marked important milestones in the history of the RMI says Jeánne Esterhuizen, RMI President.
Not only did we start to see the tangible business benefits of the RMI’s New Thinking Model (NTM) and make substantial progress in our identified key focus areas, but in its 110th year of existence, the Organisation managed to prove that it was more relevant and more transformational than ever before.
The year was marked by economic, socio and political challenges on the local front, while the US’s protectionist economy policies also impacted on the South African business market and consumer and business confidence levels. The RMI’s Member businesses often bore the brunt of these external factors.
The Vehicle Sales Picture
During the year, new vehicle sales continued to yo-yo. While new vehicle sales finally managed to show a small growth of 1.9% in calendar year 2017 – after three years of negative growth – the first quarter aggregate Industry new car sales showed another decline of 3.4% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2017. Over the same period, aggregate Industry commercial vehicle sales during the first quarter of 2018 at 45 425 units recorded a decrease of 5.4% compared to Q1 of 2017.
The 0.25% interest rate reduction announced in March 2018, surprisingly high consumer confidence, and improvement in new vehicle affordability boosted Q2 sales figures, and a growth of 3.8% on aggregate Industry new car sales was recorded compared to Q2 of 2017. Commercial vehicles followed the trend with aggregate Industry commercial vehicle sales up 1.8% on the Q2 2017 figures.
Modest Growth in Membership
Despite the external challenges, the RMI managed to show a modest growth in Membership and satisfactory financial returns. The leadership teams of the RMI and its various Constituent Associations managed to stay focused on achieving the goals and making a real difference in Members’ businesses.
An important support service that the RMI offers to Member businesses is that of consumer mediation. The RMI’s highly skilled team of consumer affairs specialists managed to record a settlement rate of nearly 95% ofall consumer disputes and complaints referred to the Organisation. The team was also actively involved in the public comment process on the second draft of the Consumer Protection Act’s Code of Good Practice, to the benefit of those Constituent Associations impacted by the Act.
During the year under review, the RMI was awarded the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) tenderfor Occupational Team Conveners for the Automotive Motor Mechanic and Diesel Mechanic trades. This Department of Higher Education-funded initiative was launched officiallyin February 2018 and, as of the end of June 2018, the fouraccredited colleges received expression of interest forms from 32 employers for 132 apprentices.
The year also saw various transformation initiatives, most notably the development of a qualification for members ofthe National African Association for Automobile Services Providers (NAAASP). These members have also been offered developmental RMI memberships with a view to becoming full members once qualified.
The foundations were laid for the establishment of a Professional Body for Automotive, a project that will berun together with the Institute for the Motor Industry (IMI) in the UK.
While there were many more activities and successful outcomes during the year, on which this Annual Report touches, the most important overall deliverable of the Organisation was one of change. And for a 110-year-old,I think we achieved remarkable success!
In an article by John Jones, DeAnne Aguirre, and Matthew Calderone on the Ten Principles of Change Management, the authors note: “Long-term structural transformation has four characteristics: scale (the change affects all or most of the organisation), magnitude (it involves significant alterations of the status quo), duration (it lasts for months, if not years), and strategic importance. Yet companies will reap the rewards only when change occurs at the level of the individual employee.”
I would therefore like to thank the entire RMI team, Associational leadership and everyone and everybody inbetween – you took on the challenge of moving on from ‘how it had always been done’ to a new, progressive way of tackling modern challenges. In many instances we are not yet where we need to be, but we can take heart inthe fact that, as these change management gurus note, implementing new ways of thinking and doing can take months – or years.
As Charles Darwin once said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”
So, let’s continue forging ahead.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the RMI board, the CEO, management and staff for their hard work during the year and to you, our loyal Members, thank you for your ongoing support. You are the reason for the RMI’s existence.
To Industry stakeholders, Government Departments, international partners and SETAs, thank you for a year of successful collaboration. We never take our relationships for granted and look forward to working together even more closely in the coming year.
Download the entire report below