Nissan invests $214m in South African plant to produce new pickup for Africa

Nissan has announced a R3 billion ($214 million) investment in its facility in Rosslyn, Pretoria to prepare the South African plant for production of the next generation Nissan Navara pickup as the facility’s role expands to being a Light Commercial Vehicle manufacturing hub for Nissan.

The Japanese car maker already builds the NP200 and NP300 models at Rosslyn for sale in the domestic market, as well as up to 45 pan-African countries.

Vehicles made up 11.4 percent of South Africa’s 2018 exports with earnings of $10.8 billion to become one of the fastest-growing top export categories in the country. The Rosslyn plant which is expected to start production in 2020 will further add to South African export numbers and create about 1,200 jobs as the country continues to grow its economy which slid into recession last year before bouncing back in the third quarter of the year. Depending on market conditions, it is anticipated Navara’s arrival will add 30,000 units to Rosslyn’s current annual production volume of 35,000, creating the need for a new, second shift at the plant.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa in a Nissan Navara in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the decision to produce Navara in South Africa was further proof of the increasing contribution of the automotive industry to the country.

“Automotive is already the largest part of South Africa’s manufacturing sector, contributing around 7.0 percent GDP annually and accounting for a third of manufacturing output. I am delighted Nissan will produce Navara here and congratulate the employees for their efforts in securing this important model,” Ramaphosa said.

Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India chairman, Peyman Kargar stated that Africa is an essential part of Nissan’s M.O.V.E. strategy 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. Today’s announcement highlights the continuing evolution of Africa as one of the most important global markets. In South Africa, this is supported by the government’s creation of a stable environment for long-term investment.”

The investment in Navara production will result in further modernization of the Rosslyn plant, including a new, flexible production line and additional facilities, as well as training and upskilling of staff.

Working with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), a local Government agency that promotes small businesses in the supply chain and skills development, Nissan has identified 15 black-owned companies that it will support in step with its preparations for the new Navara. It plans to partner with these businesses as it ramps up production and increases its spending on local content.

To date, Nissan together with the AIDC has incubated 8 new component manufacturers and related companies from its Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment start up programme. Nissan has 318 BBBEE suppliers which make up 34 percent of the total number of suppliers in South Africa.

Mike Whitfield, managing director for the Nissan Group of Africa, commented: “The new Navara is the perfect model for South Africa and our workforce is ready to build it, supported crucially by the government’s Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP)”.