SA Festival of Motoring showcases cars and much more
The Johannesburg International Motor Show has been re-imagined as the SA Festival of Motoring, which will take place from the 31st of August through to the 4th of September 2016. The event promises to be a spectacular drawcard for both car enthusiasts, and families looking for a rewarding, engaging, entertaining day out. The Festival will remain sub-Saharan Africa’s premier auto-show – representing local manufacturers and importers – but will now also feature halls and attractions that encompass the best of food, fashion, kid’s entertainment, educational opportunities and celebrity moments.
Relocating the Festival to Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit
The SA Festival of Motoring has shifted venues to the newly upgraded and spectacularly refurbished Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit & International Convention Centre, near Midrand. For aficionados, this is a unique opportunity to experience the heritage of South Africa’s iconic racing venue. It also increases the thrill of touching, feeling and steering potential vehicle purchases. Visitors may now be able to take their test car for a spin on the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit! Demos and displays will remain part of the mix, while the always-popular 4×4 track will be expanded for those ‘off- road’ enthusiasts.
Families, potential car buyers, and lovers of a good day out will also find Kyalami an attractive proposition. With room to move, and several halls to explore, there promises to be plenty to keep all ages happy.
Lessons from an international experience
The SA Festival of Motoring exponentially builds on the success of the Johannesburg International Motor Show. This event was postponed in 2015 due to calendar clashes with the Rugby World Cup and Sandton’s Eco-Mobility Event. There was also a feeling among the local car manufacturing community that – while motoring would always be the anchor – the show should evolve to attract a broader audience. This is very much in keeping with international examples incorporating a mix of live music, sculpture and luxury brands.
The Festival started its journey in 1996 as Auto Africa, joining the ranks of international motor
shows such as Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt and Tokyo when it gained a ranking from the International Organisation of Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) in 2004. The only other OICA accredited show on the African continent is in Cairo.
In 2008, the show shifted ownership, with the rights held by the South African motor industry through NAAMSA (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa).
In 2016, the Festival changes gears again. It is still a NAAMSA centrepiece, the focus is very much on the general consumer experience. The Truck & Bus Show will no longer form part of the event.
Cars are the stars
The SA Festival of Motoring will be an experiential showcase for the local automotive industry. This industry is one of the country’s largest employers, adding over 7 percent to the GDP. The Festival not only demonstrates this contribution, it also reflects the industry’s positive sentiment and commitment to the future of South Africa.
Nico Vermeulen, executive director of NAAMSA explains: ‘The SA Festival of Motoring is also an excellent platform for the local motor industry to promote itself as one of the major success stories of a democratic South Africa.’
As always, new models will be unveiled – with sneak previews of the latest introductions to the South African market. Visitors will be able to engage with these future models, exploring specifications and modifications. Racing fans can take their front row seats to watch motorsport and supercar demonstrations. Marque Clubs will welcome their VIPs to select tents. Scheduled daily parades of vintage and veteran cars will add to the sense of expectation, variety, and fun.
An innovative tech lab will present future trends, and their impact on the automotive industry. Solar, hybrid power, the convergence of mobile technology – is this a vision of the ‘connected car’?
Suppliers of automotive components and accessories for the Original Equipment and replacement markets, as well as service providers to the automotive industry, will also be represented.
The target market for the SA Festival of Motoring is definitely an aspirational one. The event will present a red-carpeted driveway to car enthusiasts – along with young professionals, families, and those simply looking for something different. Fleet managers, dealers and financial institutions will also see the benefits of attending.
The organisers are also creating an interactive website that will allow the public to share and suggest what they’d like to see at the Festival.
Adding lifestyle to the event
In terms of lifestyle, there is a natural expansion of brands and offerings. Many car manufacturers have developed their own fashion lines, for example, brands like Mercedes Benz already sponsor catwalk occasions. Inviting local designers and fashionistas to add their glamour to the Festival feels like a logical next step. Celebrity chefs will also be on hand to offer demos and ‘padkos’. (Expect artisanal
food and drink, designed with the premium palate in mind.) Live music will add to the
overall sense of occasion, too.