Nissan South Africa has further delayed the launch of the next generation Nissan Navara until June 2021.
Nissan South Africa Marketing Director Stefan Haasbroek has also confirmed that its plant in Rosslyn in Pretoria will stop production of the NP 300 Hardbody from about November 2021. Haasbroek said sales of both the single and double cab variants of the new Navara will now commence in June 2021.
Nissan South Africa previously indicated that production of the Navara would commence in November 2020 but subsequently delayed the launch of the new model to the first quarter of this year because of the impact of COVID-19.
Production of the next generation Nissan Navara in the Rosslyn plant follows a R3 billion investment in equipment and facilities at the plant. Haasbroek said the new Navara will be exported to 42 Pan African countries and about 40% of Navara production by the Rosslyn plant will be exported. He said they were in the process of confirming exports of the Navara to markets outside Africa.
“The global automotive manufacturing business is competitive and globally the company will make a decision on the most competitive source of supply. Like any other original equipment manufacturer (OEM), we are working to prove the competitiveness of our product for export markets outside of Africa,” he said.
Haasbroek attributed the further delay in the commencement of production of the new Navara to significant challenges Nissan, like many other OEMs, had experienced because of COVID-19. He said COVID-19 had caused a lot of operational issues because of the global nature of the business in terms of supply chains and ensuring quality.
Haasbroek also confirmed that the Navara will eventually replace the NP 300 Hardbody. However, Haasbroek said sales of the NP 300 Hardbody will continue with current stock and stockpiles until production of the model is stopped in about November 2021.
Haasbroek added that the Rosslyn plant will produce the NP 200 and new Navara in line with the commitment to continually modernise its line-up and Nissan Next strategy that focuses on core competences and Nissan SA’s core values. Nissan Motor Company in May 2020 unveiled its Nissan Next strategy, a four-year transformation plan to achieve sustainable growth, financial stability and profitability.
Haasbroek said the Rosslyn plan has already produced its first trial Navara units. “The final volume production will be delayed by an appropriate amount of time to support the June start of sales,” he said.
Haasbroek declined to comment on anticipated production volumes of the new Navara in the Rosslyn plant but confirmed Nissan SA intends to have a healthy and significant share of this market segment. He said the new Navara will have a local content of around 50% when production commences in June 2021.
In terms of export markets for the new Navara, Haasbroek stressed that Africa is a critical region for Nissan.
“It is globally one of the fastest growing territories in terms of total industry volumes and therefore we will continue to enhance our product offering through vehicles like the Navara and expand both our offering and footprint throughout the region with the aim to achieve our full potential.
“It's basically sub Saharan Africa with some potential in North Africa. I can also remind you of the [Navara assembly] project we are doing in Ghana, which helps us to penetrate the market even further.
“The Nissan Next transformation plan aims to ensure steady growth instead of excessive sales expansion,” he said.
Nissan will start assembling semi-knocked down kits of the new Navara in Ghana next year, but Nigeria is on hold due to a delays in implementing its auto policy. The CKD kits come from Rosslyn.ry.
The worldwide semiconductor chip shortage is not news to anyone involved in the auto industry. However, there does not seem to be an end in sight, at least not as far as new vehicle production goes.
National new vehicle sales levels are substantially behind those of the past decade, and the return of abundant supply will expose the lack of customers who can afford to purchase a vehicle, says Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) CEO, Jebb McIntosh.