The move expands the role of the plant as a light commercial vehicle (LCV) manufacturing hub. The NP200 and NP300 models are already built at Rosslyn and sold on the domestic market, as well as up to 45 other African countries.
Navara production is expected to start in 2020, and is expected to create about 1200 new jobs directly at the facility, as well as across the local supply chain. In March this year, Nissan sold 3385 LCVs, the second highest in the local market after Toyota’s 5983 sales, figures from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa showed.
Depending on market conditions, the Navara’s arrival could add 30 000 units to Rosslyn’s annual production volume of 35 000, creating the need for a second shift at the plant.
The announcement was made at the Rosslyn plant yesterday and attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Peyman Kargar, the chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, and Mike Whitfield, the managing director of Nissan Group of Africa.
South Africa’s carmakers employ more than 110 000 people and average annual investment by the sector is about R12.2bn.
Nissan’s investment is the first significant commitment by a vehicle assembler since international firms agreed with the government late last year to extend a manufacturing incentive programme until 2035.
Key targets of the agreement are to reach 1percent of global vehicle production by 2035, increase local content to 60percent from 39percent, improve black empowerment in the industry and that government support be based on value addition rather than production sales value.
Ramaphosa said in a statement yesterday: “Automotive is already the largest part of South Africa’s manufacturing sector, contributing around 7percent to GDP annually and accounting for a third of manufacturing output. I am delighted Nissan will produce Navaras here.”
Kargar said Africa was an essential part of Nissan’s strategy until 2022, in which the group’s presence in Africa would be doubled.
“We have a strong industrial footprint in Africa, including plants in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and a planned facility in Algeria (the) announcement highlights the continuing evolution of Africa as one of the most important global markets.”
The investment is expected to result in further modernisation of the plant, including a new, flexible production line and additional facilities and additional training and improving the skills of the staff, the group said.