Nissan leads in vehicle assembly after new Nigeria automotive policy introduction

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  • Nissan expanding rapidly in high-growth markets, including Africa
  • First "Proudly Nigerian" Nissan Patrol rolls off production line at Lagos plant
  • Nissan Patrol, Almera and NP300 to start mass production in August

LAGOS, Nigeria – Nissan became the first major manufacturer to build a car in Nigeria in response to the introduction of the new Nigeria Automotive Policy.

The inaugural vehicle, a Nissan Patrol, rolled off the production line at the Lagos assembly plant, marking a key milestone in the company's continued wave of expansion into high-growth markets.

Nissan is targeting significant growth in Africa as the company builds momentum towards achieving its Power 88 goals, a commitment to reach 8 percent profitability by the end of fiscal year 2016. Elsewhere in the world as part of the high-growth markets strategy, plants have been opened in Mexico and Brazil with projects underway in Indonesia, Thailand and China. Last year Nissan announced it will be the first manufacturer to build cars in Myanmar, after the opening up of the economy in the south-east Asian country.

The first "built in Nigeria for Nigerians" Nissan Patrol follows the signing last year of a Memorandum of Understanding for vehicle assembly in Lagos between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and West African conglomerate Stallion Group.

Since then, preparing for production in Nigeria to global production standards has been achieved at a rapid pace, setting a new benchmark in responsiveness and organizational agility.

Takashi Hata, Nissan Senior Vice President and Chairman for the Africa, Middle East and India region, said: "For Nissan, Africa is our strategic growth driver. Demand for cars is growing quickly in African markets as demonstrated by the first model being produced a mere seven months after the announcement of the new Automotive Policy. By acting quickly to begin production in Nigeria, we are securing for ourselves first-mover advantage."

Nissan South Africa Managing Director Mike Whitfield, who also heads up Nissan's Sub Sahara Africa region, is delighted with the successful launch of the first Patrol. "Nissan was a pioneer in the foundation of the car industry in South Africa. Now we are once again at the forefront of manufacturing in Africa, this time in Nigeria where we see huge potential. We want to play our part in the economic growth of Nigeria and Africa."

The rollout of the first Nissan vehicle comes shortly after confirmation that Nigeria's booming economy has now overtaken that of South Africa. Africa's most populous country is pivotal to Nissan's mid-term growth plan, which seeks to double sales on the continent by FY2016, up from 110,000 units at the end of FY2012.

Nissan's growth strategy in Africa gained momentum with the introduction this year of Nigeria's new Automobile Industrial Policy, aimed at stimulating development of the auto industry in the country.

"We are grateful to the Nigerian government for implementing automotive legislation that is conducive to investment and that was instrumental in our decision to open an assembly plant in partnership with the Stallion Group, already our exclusive distributor in Nigeria," added Whitfield.

Nissan anticipates vehicle demand to increase in this oil-rich country, which is seeing a rise in fast-growing industries including finance, retail, communications and film.

In addition to the Patrol, Nissan also plans to produce the Almera and NP300, starting in early May and followed by mass production in August. With these three models, Nissan aims to be a significant player.

About Nissan in South Africa
Nissan South Africa is the operational hub for Regional Business Unit South, serving Nissan's key South Africa market and 42 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The company offers a range of locally produced and imported vehicles in these markets. Employing nearly 2000 people, its Rosslyn plant manufactures light commercial vehicles, which include the NP200 half-ton pickup and NP300 one-ton Hardbody. It also produces the Livina and Sandero passenger vehicles, the latter for Alliance partner Renault. Nissan South Africa is one of the top three automotive companies in South Africa. In fiscal 2012 the company sold 50 542 vehicles.

About Nissan in Sub Sahara Africa
Nissan South Africa is the operational hub for Regional Business Unit South, serving Nissan's South Africa market and 42 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Kenya and Zambia. The company offers a range of locally produced and imported vehicles in these markets.

 

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Issued by Nissan