About 3,000 workers aligned to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) are demanding annual wage increases of 12 per cent over a two year period however, the industry is offering 10 per cent for next year and 8 per cent in 2015.
The strike comes on the back of the industry’s recovery from the crippling stoppages in August and September.
The disruption will affect the transportation of vehicles from manufacturers to port for export and dealerships around the country.
The industrial action will affect the local distribution operations of car makers BMW, Volkswagen AG, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz while also impacting on vehicle imports into South Africa.
A prolonged strike in the industry will affect year end vehicle sales.
The South African automotive industry, which accounts for 6 per cent of the country’s GDP, has been hit by strikes in recent months and BMW said in October that the "inherently unstable" labour situation in Africa's biggest economy had forced it to stop expansion plans.