The automotive industry has long been dominated by male leaders with only a few female role models at the top. However, that trend is changing across the world, including South Africa, with Liz Gorbunov at Nissan SA being one prime example.
Many automotive companies have embraced gender diversity as they’ve realised more permanent changes can help gain a competitive advantage. Looking at a long-term solution, companies are focussing on recruitment, retention and opportunity as key factors.
Who Is Liz Gorbunov?
Liz Gorbunov joined Nissan South Africa in 2016 as general manager for sales and aftersales operations for Sub-Saharan Africa. While succeeding in the position, she was looking for more and wanted to work her way up the ladder at Nissan SA.
As a result of her hard work, dedication and commitment, Liz has experienced many highs since joining Nissan but the biggest feather in her cap is becoming chief marketing manager for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) for Nissan. She will be responsible for commercialising the new Nissan Navara which is set for local production this year.
Liz takes any challenge head-on and throughout her career, she wanted to disprove theories and clichés about what women can and cannot. She wants young women across the country and the world to adopt this same mindset that no matter what industry or position they are in.
Nothing says this better than a Liz quoting Oprah Winfrey: “The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.”
“Ultimately, we as women are equally as competent and as capable as our male counterparts and should, therefore, never restrict our ambition,” said Liz Gorbunov.
Nissan Raises The Stakes With An Inclusive Environment
As excited as she is for being part of the local Navara production, she highlights Nissan South Africa’s positive attitude towards its employees and the overall work environment. At Nissan, everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and utilise their talents to help achieve the company’s ambitious goals.
She said that Nissan is working hard to create an inclusive environment for all employees. They want to encourage active participation from everyone regardless of gender while “supporting the career development of female employees”.
The dynamic Liz continued by saying “Nissan strives to create workplaces where employees are motivated to rise to the challenge while being able to work safely and comfortably, enjoying full mental and physical health.”
Nissan SA embraces diversity and creates a space for each individual to grow which is what motivated her to join the automotive giant in the first place. Her ambitions and dreams sync perfectly with that of Nissan SA as they plan to include the adoption of more electric vehicles (EVs) in SA and ensuring the continued focus on manufacturing excellence.
Speaking of ambitious goals, here is a quick look at what we can expect from Nissan according to Liz Gorbunov.
What To Expect From Nissan SA
Early in 2020, Nissan Motor Co Ltd announced a four-year plan to achieve sustainable growth, financial stability and profitability by the end of the fiscal year 2023. This ambitious plan included launching 12 new models over 18 months. They’ve already launched the Z Proto, Qashqai Midnight Edition, Nissan Patrol along with the upcoming Nissan Navara and Nissan Magnite.
While Nissan is renowned for performance cars like the Nissan GT-R and the 370Z, it’s unlikely they will launch a Nissan SUV that embodies the same ‘sporty’ aspect. However, anything can happen but until then, we can all appreciate and commend the way they’ve developed, perfected and implemented the Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) technology in their vehicles.
According to Liz, it is this technology and Nissan’s innovative thinking that attracts many potential buyers who look towards the future of the driving experience. Nissan Intelligent Mobility (NIM) technology is currently on several vehicles in South Africa, including the Nissan Patrol, Nissan X-Trail, Nissan Qashqai and the upcoming locally manufactured Nissan Navara.