Nissan has described South Africa as a “pivotal market” ahead of the start of local production of the refreshed Navara.
The Japanese firm plans to start building the updated bakkie for local and export markets at its Rosslyn plant in Pretoria later in 2021. The R3-billion investment will see the Navara added to the production line alongside the NP300 Hardbody and half-tonne NP200.
The local Navara range is expected to grow from the current double-cab-only line-up to one that includes a broader range of body styles.
Mike Whitfield, managing director of Nissan’s Africa regional business unit, said South Africa had a key role to play in the company's broader plans for the continent.
“South Africa remains a pivotal market, first for the access that it grants Nissan to the continent and secondly as a light commercial vehicle hub for the Nissan group.
Whitfield furthermore confirmed the automaker was looking at opportunities in other African countries after entering automotive policy discussions with the Kenyan government and taking investment action “a step further” in Ghana.
“We have a specific team working on potential opportunities in East, West, and Central Africa. This includes investigating options for local assembly, consolidating and strengthening our national sales companies in Sub-Sahara, and working with local governments to develop their industrial policies.”
Back in South Africa, Nissan says the latest investment has resulted in a “modernised” Rosslyn plant that now features a “new, flexible production line and additional facilities”.
Nissan SA says it has also “incubated” eight new component manufacturers and related companies as well as identified a further 15 that can assist with components for the facelifted Navara.