Nissan South Africa's managing director Mike Whitfield has announced that the company is preparing for a capacity increase at its Rosslyn-based plant that will bring about job creation. The announcement coincided with a visit to the South African operation by the chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Company Limited, Toshiyuki Shiga.
Whitfield said the increase in capacity is a leap towards supporting the company's global business plan, Nissan Power 88, which targets 8% of global market share and 8% corporate operating profit by 2016. Locally this will see the South African plant producing a potential 100 000 vehicles annually by 2016, driven primarily by the new pick-up model. This will lead to new hiring at the plant and throughout the automotive supplier community.Capacity increase in line with APDP
Around 800 new jobs are anticipated in a range of skills required at the plant, from operators and team leaders to supervisors and engineers. A further 4 000 will be created in the wider automotive industry. It also came at the right time in terms of South Africa's automotive and development programme (APDP), which is encouraging the automotive industry to ramp up total South African vehicle production to 1.2 million units per year by 2020.
"The local industry's APDP, which encourages individual manufacturers to increase production levels above 50 000 units per annum, is completely in tune with our own ambitions within this increasingly important African market, as part of the wider Nissan Power 88 plan," explained Whitfield.
With vehicle sales on the continent contributing more than 90 000 units to Nissan's global 2011 vehicle sales, Africa is a key strategic region. Sales will be driven by a new 1-ton pick-up to be produced at the Rosslyn plant, along with the current NP200, NP 300 Hardbody, the Nissan Livina range and the Renault Sandero under the Renault-Nissan alliance.Vote of confidence in Nissan SA
Welcoming Shiga at the Rosslyn plant Whitfield said that in today's climate of economic uncertainty and low-cost competitiveness, the support from Nissan in Japan for local operations is a huge boost. "It is a vote of confidence in Nissan South Africa both as a manufacturing facility and as a driver of brand sales on the African continent and beyond."
In addition to the local production of the new 1-ton pick-up, Whitfield said that an additional B-segment passenger vehicle will be launched in South Africa in the not so distant future. Talks were also ongoing with key South African stakeholders on the rollout of the Nissan LEAF, which has been successfully launched in Europe, the USA and Japan.