Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Barloworld, Audi part ways

The days in which you would walk into a local car dealer, Barloworld and drive out with an Audi are numbered. This follows the confirmation by the global car dealer that it will no longer import and sell Audi cars amid growing global demand for electric vehicles.

Barloworld Chief Executive Officer Clement Matswagothata told this publication that even though they will continue to service and repair Audi cars which have been purchased from them, it should however be noted that they will not order new ones.

“What Audi has done globally is that they are now going electric, so the next couple of years we will not have manufacturing of Audi cars with combustion engine, petrol engines and diesel engines but from aftersales perspective we will continue servicing them, we will continue fixing them, we will continue repairing them and our technicians will continue attending Audi trainings,” said Matswagothata.

He highlighted that they currently have a limited brand new stock which they left in December adding that they will sell them and shut doors on Audi imports.

Matswagothata said as a result they have taken a decision as a business not to go into the electric space for a myriad reasons.

“We are not going to go into the electric space because if you look at Volvo cars for instance that is also part of our collections, Volvo has what we call hybrids which means it is part electric and part combustion engine, basically meaning that one can use petrol or electric but Audi is not going hybrid but rather going all out electric,” added Matswagothata.

He stated that even though they have taken a strategic decision not to sell electric Audi cars, they remain open to seeing what infrastructure will have in place.

He said there are no infrastructure in place in Botswana to allow electric car owners to move freely.

“It is currently a challenge to think that one can order electric cars and sell them because it will not make business sense unless there are infrastructure in place,”

“The strategic point of view now is to establish whether we agree to wait for 3 years, 4 years or 8 years until we have all the necessary infrastructure in place,” stated Matswagothata.

He said electric vehicles need heavy investment to insure that car owners receive assistance at the tip of their nail.

Matswagothata stated that there has been a significant shift in the car manufacturing space around the world adding that some countries have already started to buy into the philosophy.

In 2021 it was reported that Baylee Enterprises (Pty) Ltd, a private company headquartered in Botswana’s capital city Gaborone, was expected to start full production of electric cars in the same year.

The then Minister of Trade and Industry Peggy Serame said  the company was currently importing electric motors and other parts needed to assemble the electric car in the southern African country.

“The company is planning to start full production by August 2021,” Serame made the announcement in parliament while answering a question from a fellow legislator who wanted an update on the development and production of electric cars.

According to Serame, the company has developed the prototype of the electric car and it is currently undergoing compliance process with relevant stakeholders including Botswana’s Department of Road, Transport and Safety.

Serame said the electric car will go a long way in ensuring that there will be less air pollution in Botswana. According to a Journal of Health and Pollution published in 2020, Botswana is ranked amongst the most polluted countries with serious air pollution, despite a population of just over two million people. 

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