Nissan has set up a production facility in Lagos, Nigeria. Nissan’s investment in Nigeria was closs to the heels of the new Nigeria Automotive Policy. The inaugural vehicle, a Nissan Patrol, rolled off the production line at the Lagos assembly plant today, marking a key milestone in the company’s continued wave of expansion into high-growth markets.
The Japanese carmaker is banking on 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.
As a part of this expansion plan, Nissan has already opened up plants in Mexico and Brazil with projects already underway in Indonesia, Thailand and China. Last year, Nissan became the first carmaker to announce a plan to build cars in Myanmar, after the opening up of the economy in the south-east Asian country.
Nissan signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a vehicle assembly in Lagos between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and West African conglomerate Stallion Group. Nissan achieved preparation for production in Nigeria to global production standards at a rapid pace, setting a new benchmark in responsiveness and organisational agility.
Takashi Hata, Nissan senior VP and chairman for the Africa, Middle East and India region, told our sister publication, Autocar UK: "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, said: "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 also comes shortly after the confirmation that Nigeria's booming economy had 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 Financial Year 2016, up from 110,000 units at the end of Financial Year 2012.
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 the NP300, starting in early May and followed by mass production in August.