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ARA Newsflash – ARA (in conjunction with The World Engine Remanufacturers’  Council) joins the Global Right to Repair Movement for Vehicles

Dear ARA Member

ARA (in conjunction with The World Engine Remanufacturers’ Council) joins the Global Right to Repair Movement for Vehicles

The World Engine Remanufacturers’ Council (WERC), of which The Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA) is the residing President, has joined other global association leaders to support the critical global right to repair movement by signing the new right to repair position statement.

The purpose of WERC is to create a world alliance of independent engine rebuilders in search of excellence in their work, better profitability, and greater awareness of the new trends that disruptive technology is bringing into the “engine rebuilding business”. South Africa is represented strongly on WERC, with ARAs National EXCO Chairperson: Mr Frank Mac NICOL as WERCs President, and ARAs National Director: Mr Attie Serfontein as WERCs General Secretary (GS).

The global right to repair position statement enumerates the core beliefs of the movement and the objectives and intended outcomes of right to repair legislation. Importantly, the document sets forth 10 best practice principles to developing a framework for right to repair legislation that any supporting country can use and adapt them to their needs.

A media statement was released on 6 April 2023, confirming ARA (in conjunction with WERCs) commitment to support the Right to Repair Movement in South Africa and globally.

Hereto attached please find the media press release, and the global right to repair, position statement – for ease of reference.

Yours Sincerely

Attie Serfontein

ARA National Director

All about data-plates

A data-plate is a small but powerful source of information, providing a quick reference to details concerning your trailer.

The National Road Traffic Act (NRTA Reg 245) states that all trailers above 3 500 KG and those first registered from 1 January 1998 (irrespective of capacity) must have a metal data-plate securely fixed to the body.

The information must be imprinted or stamped onto the plate using Roman Letters and Numerals preferably 7mm high.

Where should the data-plate be placed?

The plate should be easily accessible and fixed securely to the curb side of the trailer preferably to the drawbar or as far forward on the body or chassis as possible. The information has to be clearly legible.

What size is a data-plate?

The standard data-plate used is 165mm x 75mm (w x h).

Most incorrectly stamped data on the information plate is –

  • For the maximum permissible (or legally allowed) vehicle mass load V; and
  • The maximum axle mass load A (or AU in case of a tandem axle).

Permissible maximum vehicle mass V:

The permissible maximum vehicle mass, denoted as V, is not the maximum payload. It can never be less than the Tare of the vehicle, nor can it be more than the Gross Vehicle Mass GVM.

Permissible maximum axle mass load A (or AU):

The permissible axle mass load, denoted as A (or AU), cannot be higher than the permissible maximum vehicle mass V.

About Information Plates on a light-trailer:

Two sets of information are shown on the information plate –

  • The manufacturers data T, GVM and GA/GAU. These are the masses for which the trailer is designed for in order to be able to carry a certain load; and
  • The legally permissible data V and A/AU. These are the masses which limit the trailer due to legal restrictions. A light trailer will often have an identical information for GVM and V, or GA/GAU and A/AU.

Important to note; the permissible masses can never be greater than the manufacturer’s design masses.

Looking ahead at 2023, and what we can expect for the Automotive Aftermarket regarding “trends”, and “future-technologies”, specific to the Remanufacturing Sub-Sector

Since the outset of the global pandemic in the first-quarter of 2020, countless Industries (and “economies of scale”) have changed its focus in terms of their business-models, in-doing-so, adapting to Industry “trends”, “new-technology”, and the likes thereof.

While the pandemic served as the primary driver of Industry evolution (moving Industries into an accelerated rate insofar the diversification, expansion, and branching-out of one’s business), it also accelerated the adoption of already emerging trends.

Several significant trends have begun to reshape the Automotive Aftermarket Industry as we know it, whereby three of the most notable are:

  1. Focus on Green Initiatives:

EV or Electric Vehicle technology are in the increase, and purchases are on the rise. There is a major increase, in both Electric Vehicles, and Hybrid Vehicle technology, globally) and are rising if compared to historical sales.

In response to this growing demand for EVs, OEMs are doubling down on investments in “green” initiatives. They are also working around the clock to improve the efficiency of existing models and exploring new ways to effectively address the demand for zero-emission Vehicles.

The phrase “mobility as a service” is a broad term for services that allow Consumers to buy short-term mobility. It provides an alternative to purchasing personally owned Vehicles. Examples of these services include ride-sharing platforms and short-term Electric Bike rental programs, to name but just a few.

The aforesaid growing demand in mobility, indicate a shift in Consumer habits from traditional Vehicle buying to more flexible solutions. An increase in remote work opportunities and the rise of more convenient food delivery services, fuel the growth of the “mobility as a service” Market.

  1. Increased Use of Digital Sales Experiences:

Modern Consumers have grown accustomed to making purchases by simply clicking a few buttons on their laptops or smart-devices. As a result, they have come to expect that all transactions will be equally as efficient and frictionless. This expectation directly conflicts with the traditional car-buying experience, which typically takes hours to navigate.

While it was possible to purchase a Vehicle online before the pandemic, fewer than one out of ten vehicles were purchased online. By 2021, we saw a growth in this number. Buying a Vehicle online is faster, more efficient, less stressful, and easier. That’s why this trend is expected to continue well past 2023.

Those operating within the Automotive Aftermarket space or ancillary sectors should keep a close eye on these three trends, as they are poised to reshape this economically important Industry.

How does Businesses in the Automotive Aftermarket stay relevant?

One way to stay relevant will be to RECOGNIZE and to understand CURRENT economic trends (or disruptive trends). Let’s have a look at CURRENT economic disruptions within the Automotive Aftermarket, by way of a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis (S = Strength | W = Weakness | O = Opportunity | T = Thread) is a good exercise to go through on an annual basis in terms of the health of your “business”.

CURRENT economic trends / disruptions, listed (inter alia):

  1. Gap in qualified Artisans, and uptake of Apprentices;
  2. Economic setback as a result of the pandemic;
  3. Importation of sub-standard engines, components, and parts;
  4. Legislation on component importation, and carbon-credits;
  5. Anticompetitive behaviour in the Automotive Aftermarket;
  6. Loss of key staff to other Countries;
  7. Rapid changes in Technology;
  8. Market demand in the “REMAN” sub-sector are stable, but may become a thread in time to come i.e. new technology – thus the importance to diversify, and adapt to Market demand (where Skills Development will play a key role); and in conclusion
  9. All of the aforementioned aspects are priority matters and / or projects concluded, or in progress by RMI | ARA.

Now let’s look at how these (disruptive) trends align with historical economic disruptions within the Automotive Aftermarket:

Understanding historical “Industrial Revolutions”, referring to Industry 1.0 to 5.0 – one can position oneself best to stay current. In order to stay relevant, one has to adapt to Industry demand i.e. the only constant in life is change!

Industrial Revolutions have historically served to separate man’s work from machine’s work, and since then, operations have developed rapidly. We have undergone three Industrial Revolutions, find ourselves amid a fourth, and already transitioning to the fifth.

Industry 1.0:

Steam engines helped birth the 1st Industrial Revolution (18th Century).

Industry 2.0:

Electricity was the fuel of Industry 2.0 (19th Century).

Industry 3.0:

The integrated circuit chip made the first computer era possible (20th Century).

Industry 4.0:

Industry 4.0 is about something we all are familiar with; the Smart Device (21st Century).

Industry 5.0:

With Industry 5.0 we’ll see much more advanced collaborative interactions between humans, machines, processes, and systems for maximum performance optimization.

Examples of the aforementioned includes Web-based-Video (with the likes of Netflix & ShowMax) | Ride-sharing services (2 or more owners of one Vehicle) | VR or Virtual Reality (will change how we do business) | Cryptocurrency i.e. BitCoin; have you noticed how Industry 4.0 (the Internet of Things) have changed how we do Banking | 3D Printing | Li-Fi, a 100X faster than Wi-Fi.

Schematic structure of Industry 1.0 to 5.0:

Methods that Businesses can implement to align with disruptions (in using it to your advantage):

Methods to align with disruptions, listed (inter alia):

  1. Embrace new Technologies i.e. Hybrid Technology | EVs – Electric Vehicles | Autonomous (or Connected Vehicle) Technology;
  2. Where need be, expand your business with new and dedicated departments, to widen the scope of your “product offering” i.e. Hybrid Regenerative Braking Systems and EV Power Transmissions;
  3. To align your business with newly & afresh Technologies such as EV, and Hybrid Technology, by-way of upskilling yourself and your staff-compliment with the skill-set to render services on these Technologies; a demand that’ll to see a steep increase as OEMs bring (release) the aforesaid “technologies” into Market.

A vehicle is no longer just a mode of transport. “Connected-Vehicle” technology has created a new commercial environment that embraces both vehicle and driver (referring to Industry 5.0). Technology offers new and profitable revenue streams, as in the case of the previous Industrial Revolutions.

A well designed all electric Vehicle does not have or need a transmission. Remember that an electric motor generates full torque at stall. That means when you hit the “gas” it goes, right-away. And since there is no transmission, there is also no need for a clutch. When the Vehicle is at rest, the electric motor is not running, so no clutch is needed.

Pictorial illustration of “regenerative braking”:

Regenerative-braking, a mechanism found on most hybrid and full-electric Vehicles (EVs). It captures the kinetic energy from braking and converts it into the electrical power that charges the Vehicle’s high voltage battery. Regenerative braking also slows the Vehicle down, which assists the use of traditional brakes.

Pictorial illustration of Hybrid & EV Power Transmissions:

The changing Industry, and technological changes transforming the Vehicle

With 2023 on the horizon, it’s important to venture in on how “trends” and “new-technology” will shape the future in coming years, within the Automotive Aftermarket. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry will undergo a profound transformation (which already are hot-topics on many OEMs | Automakers’ | Stakeholders’ | and the Automotive Aftermarket’ lips i.e. Vehicle and Bodybuilders’ – the change has already begun).

Companies who’s in the field of Vehicle and Bodybuilding (inclusive of Trailers), as well as the end-user who buy the product will look significantly different. Technology will be leading this change, but it will be shaped by four key themes.

The Vehicle of 2023, onwards to 2025, will include the following aspects:

  1. A “greener” approach:

Consumers and Regulators is concerned about climate-change, placing pressure on OEMs | Automakers to reduce CO2 emissions, drastically. 

Source: Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Traffic in the world’s developing / growing cities, are becoming increasingly worse. Ownership costs is rising, while Vehicles sits unused approximately 95% of the time. This creates opportunity for businesses that can more efficiently match Vehicles with people who require transportation.

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Reducing accidents has long been an Industry priority, however, an aging global population is increasing the need for safe (risk-free) transportation.

Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

As the world’s per-capita income rises, Vehicle ownership will increase in developing Countries. These new Consumers will be looking for models that are small, and inexpensive.

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research

The seven key trends; transformation will drive seven key trends that will dominate the coming decade:

  1. Filling-up, and Plugging-in:

Concerns about “greenhouse gases” and pollution are driving an Industry-wide change in the way Vehicles are powered.

Regulations on fuel economy and CO2 emissions are forcing OEMs | Automakers to make engines more efficient. By 2025, 25% of Vehicles sold will have electric engines, up from 5% today. But most of those will be hybrid technology, and 95% of Vehicles will still rely on “fossil-based-fuels” for at least part of their power-output.

That means OEMs | Automakers will need to make ICE – “internal combustion engines” more efficient to comply with new standards. The development of alternative power sources such as fuel-cells will add to overall efficiency, but only if the end-user can afford them.

The combination of technologies throughout the powertrain can increase the fuel-economy of Vehicles with “internal combustion engines”. These include “direct-fuel-injection”, “turbochargers”, and “high-speed-automatic-transmissions”.

To increase efficiency, OEMs | Automakers | Vehicle and Bodybuilders’ have been looking to reduce Vehicles’ overall weight. But stricter Auto-safety standards have typically required using heavier body parts.

That conflict is starting to ease, as Companies explore materials that are both light and strong, including aluminium, high-tensile steel and carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).However, these are more expensive materials. CFRP is primarily used only in specialty sports-cars today. Over time, the push for fuel-efficiency will mean more use of aluminium and high-tensile steel.

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research

Once found only in science fiction, self-driving Vehicles are about to become a reality. They can help reduce road traffic accidents, clear-up traffic, and provide mobility to the Motoring-Public.

The competition to lead this change is intense, coming from Companies both inside and outside the Industry. Fully Autonomous Vehicles are being tested on roads today, and the first commercially available semi-Autonomous Vehicles could be on the road in the next 1-2 years.

However, that innovation comes with risks. Turning control over to software could lead to new hacking vulnerabilities and other hazards; liability issues that Companies can’t ignore. Vehicles that allow drivers to intervene in emergencies is a more likely scenario in the near future.

The need for more fuel-efficient Vehicles will increase the cost of sourcing parts, that’s fit for purpose.

The businesses that supply these parts will need to find ways to keep up with technology while keeping costs down. While challenging, this situation also provides opportunities for parts Manufacturers.

For large Companies, mitigating risks could mean increasing their budgets and diversifying across a range of technologies. Smaller businesses (SMMEs), on the other hand, can deepen their focus on core technologies while forming alliances with other Suppliers of Goods, for areas outside their expertise.

With software and other technologies taking the lead, it’s no surprise that consumer tech companies are entering the automotive world. While a car may not be a mobile phone, these businesses’ focus on design, ease of use, automated assistance and battery life will bring new kinds of innovation to the field.

One catalyst for tech innovators to move into the automotive industry now: electric vehicles have just 1/3 the parts of conventional vehicles, lowering the barriers to entry.

FEWER PARTS = SIMPLER MANUFACTURING (and less usage of raw materials, combating CO2 emissions i.e., the Greenhouse effect)

The “Internet of Things” demonstrates how connecting everyday devices to a network transform what we can do with them. We can expect the same with the “Internet of Vehicles” – which will do the same.

Connected Vehicles, communicating with each other and with the larger world, will not only reduce accidents and ease traffic.

They will have powerful effects beyond the Automotive Industry. Insurers, for example, will have new ways to monitor driver behaviour, reward good drivers and distribute costs to reckless drivers. The ride-sharing Companies can better connect idle Vehicles with the Customers that need them.

Ridesharing may be a mixed blessing for the Automotive Industry. Most Vehicles worldwide are used only to commute or for short trips during the day, leaving them idle 95% of the time. If drivers decide to forgo ownership and access Vehicles only when they need them, Vehicle sales may be affected as a result.

Connected-Vehicles, especially self-driving ones, could also change the way people use their drive time. In a survey conducted, more than 50% of respondents said they would prefer to listen to music, talk on the phone, watch videos, or browse the Internet while traveling by Vehicle.

Vehicle ownership in most economies starts gaining momentum when per-capita incomes move into the R 170 000 to R 340 000 range.

By 2025, many developing Nations will reach that level for the first time, creating a large demand for smaller Vehicles with lower prices and lower operating costs.

India, for example, will become the world’s third-largest Vehicle-Market by 2025, with 7.4 million Vehicles. China, which has already experienced a boom in Vehicle ownership, will continue to grow, with Vehicle sharing expected to become more popular.

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research

The Take-away:

The global Automotive Industry is on the brink of a major transformation. Technology is driving this shift, shaped by demographic, regulatory and environmental pressures. By 2025, the Vehicle and the world around it will look quite different.

  1. The Vehicle:

The vehicle will grow smarter and more efficient, with high-efficiency engines, lighter materials and autonomous driving systems.

The Industry will evolve, with new competition from tech Companies, and Suppliers capable of producing high-tech parts at low prices.

The driver will look at Vehicles differently; sharing Vehicles and using them as a space to consume media and make calls. A growing percentage of those drivers will come from emerging markets.