When Nissan made its first investment towards Africa’s growth sixty years ago with Datsun’s presence in Zimbabwe and the Nissan Motor Company Limited, opening its Rosslyn operations, it was the humble, but bold start of a journey.
In 2019, Nissan continued its commitment to the continent, making an R3 billion investment announcement to facilitate the local production of the Nissan Navara pickup. The bold investment spoke to the Navara rolling off the production line alongside the popular NP200 half-ton pickup, and NP300 one-ton Hardbody that is already produced at the South African plant.
The modernized Rosslyn plant now has a new, flexible production line and additional facilities. R190 million has already been invested in re-skilling and training Nissan South Africa’s employees to expand their expertise in preparation for the Navara’s local production. The company’s production trial engineers, for example, spent three months receiving virtual training (due to Covid-19 travel restrictions) from Nissan trainers in Japan on implementing the model here in South Africa.
The installation of the necessary machinery, including robots, meanwhile, and new press machines, were completed during lock-down by highly skilled local engineers under the “virtual” online guidance of Japanese, technicians sitting at home in their respective countries as everyone came to grips with the global pandemic.
According to Nissan’s Africa Regional Business Unit, Managing Director, Mike Whitfield, Nissan will continue to develop regional hubs.
“South Africa remains a pivotal market, first for the access that it grants Nissan to the continent and secondly as a light commercial vehicle hub for the Nissan group. We have a specific team working on potential opportunities in East, West, and Central Africa. This includes investigating options for local assembly, consolidating and strengthening our National Sales Companies in Sub-Sahara, and working with local governments to develop their industrial policies.”