Morocco faced with new turns

Based essentially on exports, the Moroccan automotive industry, which faces new challenges arising from the digital and ecological revolutions, must act to make the most of restructuring movements around the world and decide on its best positioning. strategic.

This automobile industry continues to accumulate success, particularly in terms of production and export, despite a delicate situation marked in particular by a shortage of certain inputs, due in particular to the upheaval of global production chains. The latest figures from the Foreign Exchange Office show this well, since sales in the automotive sector exceeded 66.7 billion dirhams (MMDH) at the end of August this year, ie a significant increase of 29.3%. These exports reach their highest level during the same period in the last five years.

In detail, this increase concerned sales in the construction segment (+47.3%) and those in the wiring segment (+16.7%). On the other hand, exports of the vehicle and seat interior segment fell by 2.5%. “The structuring of the national automotive industrial system into dense ecosystems, combined with the measures taken at the heart of the health crisis and the mechanisms of the Industrial Recovery Plan 2021-2023 have enabled this resilience and allow Morocco to remain optimistic by maintaining the objectives of export growth and achievement of an 80% integration rate in the sector”commented Hicham Sebti, Professor of Management Sciences and Director of Euromed Business School.

The issue of shortages is probably a short-term problem that should be adjusted via the measures taken by central banks to slow down the economic machines and the ramp-up of new production capacities for raw materials and manufactured products at the global level, a noted Sebti, before specifying that the real subject for the Moroccan automotive industry is that of choices in terms of strategic positioning in the new mobility industry.

Concerning the stakes for Morocco in these relocation operations carried out by global automobile giants, the expert pointed out that a large number of multinationals established in the region have adopted a “flight to safety” behavior by moving their activities from the conflict zone to more politically stable spaces, such as Morocco. “It is in this complex and changing context that Morocco must act to take advantage of movements to restructure value chains. In a scenario of regional relocation in which companies reorganize their production systems and those of their partner suppliers around value chains dedicated to regional geographic markets, Morocco will be able to position itself as a major player in a Euro-Mediterranean- Africa on two conditions »he said.

Firstly, to expectations of attractiveness in terms of institutional, human, material and energy resources and secondly by building resilient ecosystems based on ” Redundancy “ (access to additional manufacturing capacity at the risk of overcapacity), ” the diversity “ (access to several sources of supply) and “modularity” (the ability to reconfigure a system and recombine resources) production systems. In his opinion, Morocco enjoys competitive advantages which allow it to claim a strategic position, particularly within the framework of the new European neighborhood policy, citing to this effect a set of arguments which Morocco could be presented Peace and stability, the efforts in terms of green transition, its actions to establish inclusive growth as well as its various initiatives in terms of digital transformation.

Focusing on these transitions, whether ecological or digital, from which Morocco can benefit, Sebti explained that the first development relating to the expected growth of the electric vehicle market puts the subject of the battery at the heart of the organization of the industrial system. of the automobile.

On this point, he returned to the recent report published by the Middle East Institutes’ Economics and Energy Program, according to which Morocco could position itself as a major player in green mobility, listing for this purpose competitive advantages, namely the existence of an industrial ecosystem structured around major global manufacturers committed to ecological transition and the production of electric vehicles; as well as the reserves of minerals critical to the production of batteries, such as cobalt, which Morocco has.

However, our interlocutor felt that it would be inappropriate for Morocco to turn its back on the production of vehicles with internal combustion engines. According to him, if Europe has effectively put an end to the sale of heat engines, this market still has strong potential for equipping emerging markets, particularly in Africa. “The whole challenge for Morocco is to make the two ecosystems coexist”he said.

And to also take up the challenge of the digital transformation of mobility, Sebti recommended industry convergence – research and the development of support and financing mechanisms for innovative start-ups, which have become more essential than ever.

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