A R3-billion investment from Nissan Group of Africa to manufacture its new Navara in South Africa promises to create new jobs, increase the use of locally sourced parts and support local business. MARISKA MORRIS reports
Nissan Group of Africa announced a R3-billion investment in its Rosslyn plant to prepare for the mass production of a new model of the Nissan Navara for local and international markets, which is expected to start in 2020. The investment will also create around 1 200 new jobs at the facility and across the local supply chain.
Depending on the market conditions, an additional 30 000 units will be added to the existing 35 000 units produced at Rosslyn, which include the popular NP200 and NP300 models. The investment is part of Nissan’s strategic plan to increase annual revenue by 30 percent over six years to 16,5 trillion yen (R2 trillion) by 2022.
Peyman Kargar, chairman Nissan Africa, Middle East and India, comments: “Africa is an essential part of Nissan’s MOVE to 2022 midterm plan, in which we aim to double our presence across the Africa, Middle East and India region.
“We already have a strong industrial footprint in Africa including plants in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and a planned facility in Algeria. The announcement highlights the continuing evolution of Africa as one of the most important global markets.”
Nissan has also partnered with Renault and Mitsubishi, which it hopes will also make use of the Rosslyn plant after production of the Navara starts.
Aside from creating jobs through its investment, Nissan Group of Africa is also further supporting local business by increasing the number of components sourced from local suppliers. Currently less than 40 percent of the vehicle parts are locally manufactured. The ultimate goal is to increase this to 60 percent.
“The Navara will start with 38-percent local content next year when the first models roll off the line, growing to 48 percent very shortly thereafter. This will generate an estimated R5,8 billion in new economic value every year,” says Mike Whitfield, MD for Nissan Group of Africa.
“We are striving to achieve the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) 2035 goal of one percent of the global industry and 60-percent local content, while doubling employment in South Africa and ensuring ongoing transformation,” he adds.
The South African automotive industry contributes 7,1 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 14 percent of the total exports from South Africa.
Whitfield adds: “Navara production will allow us to expand Rosslyn’s role as an export hub for light commercial vehicles and contribute further to the local automotive sector.”
In 2018, global sales of the Nissan Navara totalled 231 435 units, which makes it the top selling Nissan pickup globally.
Nissan Group of Africa is working with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) – a government agency that promotes small businesses in the supply chain and skills development. Through the partnership, Nissan Group of Africa has identified 15 black-owned companies that it will support and partner with when manufacturing the Navara. To date, Nissan, together with the AIDC, has incubated eight new component manufacturers and related companies.
President Cyril Ramaphosa applauded Nissan for its investment. He said: “Nissan’s investment is an expression of confidence in the country’s economic position and in the nation’s ability to overcome adversity. I urge other companies to follow the example of Nissan.”
Whitfield concludes: “The real message is what can be achieved when there is meeting of the minds between manufacturers, government and labour. I believe that the investment shows us that we can build a sustainable and internationally competitive automotive industry for South Africa and create opportunities for people in our country in the process.”