Michael Whitfield, Managing Director for Nissan Group Africa, recently announced that the Japanese automaker will be making a multi-billion rand investment in its South African plant to facilitate the manufacture of the latest version of the hugely popular Nissan Navara for both local and international markets.
Whitfield announced the investment, which will result in the creation of approximately 1200 full-time jobs, at an event on the 10th of April 2019 which was also attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The president lauded the investment as a major milestone and thanked Nissan for their expression of confidence in the South African economy. He also assured the automaker that the country was hard at work to fix the operational challenges that had caused rolling blackouts in recent months and that businesses like Nissan can look forward to a stable electricity supply.
According to Marcel Swanepoel, Managing Director of Group 1, this investment holds many benefits for South Africa as a whole. “This major investment into South Africa and the country’s supplier base will yield increased employment and upskilling throughout the supplier chain,” he stated. “In the long run, this will lead to increased global relevance for South African operations, as well as long-term job security and skills creation. This will serve to confirm SA as the launch pad into the African continent.”
Swanepoel also believes that consumers stand to benefit from the investment in local manufacturing. “Many of the costs that consumers cover when they pay for a new Nissan vehicle are related to duties and taxes,” he explains. “When a bakkie like the Nissan is manufactured locally, you’re looking at a duty-neutral vehicle that is much more competitively priced. Local manufacture will also reduce parts duties, which ultimately results in lower running costs.”
Swanepoel is very excited at the prospect of Nissan’s increased foothold in South Africa and what that means for the country and the brand as a whole. “The investment shows Nissan’s interest,” he says. “The expectation is that the Japan-based automaker will now become a much more significant contributor to the South African market and that we might well see Nissan challenging Toyota for higher market share fairly soon.”
Group 1 Nissan is very excited to see how this important milestone in the brand’s local development will revitalise the South African auto landscape. Keep your eye on the blog in the coming weeks and months as we share more insider info on movements within the Nissan camp and more. In the meantime, feel free to visit your nearest Nissan dealership or reach out to one of our knowledgeable representatives to learn more about the vehicles we have on offer.