Nissan’s all new Navara has been shipped into Africa, completing the latest milestone in a journey that began earlier this year with the start of production for the vehicle in the company’s Africa’s LCV manufacturing hub in Rosslyn, outside Pretoria, in South Africa.
The vehicle, which is the toughest vehicle that Nissan has ever made, is packed with Nissan Intelligent Motoring features yet built to withstand severity level 56, an in-house metric which describes the most extreme driving conditions in the world – a standard which applies to many countries in the continent.
Addressing selected senior South African and Pan African journalists at a function in Hartbeespoort in South Africa’s North West province this week to show off the Nissan Navara family range and its capabilities, Nissan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield, said the company was committed to building on its 60-year heritage on the continent by bringing a vehicle made in Africa for Africa to Africa while working with governments who wanted to create their own sustainable automotive industries.
“Africa is the last automotive frontier,” he said, “with a motorisation rate of 42 vehicles per 1 000 people, against the global average of 182. India with a similar population and GDP per capita sold 4.4-million vehicles in 2018, as against Africa’s 1.3-million.
“An African automotive industry could sell 5-million vehicles a year by 2050, but most of all could be the greatest catalyst for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed in January this year, which will create the largest trading bloc in the world.”
Nissan’s sales director for Sub Saharan Africa Hide Kuwayama agreed, saying Nissan Africa was very excited about the progress of Ghana’s first ever Nissan assembly plant which will be the most modern and most advanced in West Africa when it goes into production early next year.
“Sub Saharan Africa has four of the fastest growing economies in the world this year. The greatest challenge is the grey market, where 80% of the fleet of vehicles on the continent are imported second hand and are not designed for African conditions.
“Our all new Nissan Navara, the best we have ever made, is literally built of more: it hasn’t just been tropicalised, it has a reinforced chassis, the suspension is different and the roll over angle is the best in the market.
Nissan marketing director Stefan Haasbroek said the design of the all new Navara had focused on four pillars: rugged and tough, utterly capable; value for money with high levels of safety across all models; Nissan’s legendary smart technology; and, exceptional drive comfort.
“We recognised that the Navara will be bought both by fleets and by individuals so this is a vehicle that is as useful working on the road during the week as it is for relaxing at the weekend. It was designed to appeal as much to the man on the building site as it is for the high-flying corporate mom doing the sports run with her kids and living her best life. It literally is built of more.”
Nissan Motor Company invested R3-billion to upgrade the Rosslyn plant to become the home of the all new Navara, said Nissan South Africa managing director Kabelo Rabotho, creating jobs, extending the life of the plant and meeting an ambitious 40% local content at the start of production with higher levels in future.
Nissan has the unique distinction of all OEMs on the continent of having an assembly plant in South Africa and one in Egypt. It was the first mover in West Africa, when it began assembling in Nigeria in 2013, with Ghana now due to begin production early next year.
“With three regional general managers to focus on East, West and Central Africa, the company is well placed to create mobility solutions for Africa, by Africans in Africa,” said Whitfield, “developing local talent and creating jobs and wealth and make the 21st Century, the African Century.”