THIS is the first Nissan Patrol to be built in Nigeria. It rolled out from the Nissan Plant in Lagos last week and it has everything a typical Nissan Patrol, built anywhere in the world can boast of.
Nissan made a promise last year that the Patrol will roll out before the end of April 2014 and has kept to the promise. The Nigerian-born patrol arrived a week ahead of schedule at VON plant, Lagos.
A statement from Nissan South Africa said that more Nissan vehicles will roll out from the Nigerian plants in few months to come.
According to the statement, the inaugural vehicle, a black Nissan Patrol, rolled off the production line at the Lagos assembly plant last week, marking a key milestone in the company’s continued wave of expansion into the high-growth markets.
In addition to the Patrol, Nissan also plans to produce the Almera and NP300, starting in early May, followed by mass production in August. With these three models, Nissan aims to be a significant player in the Nigerian automotive sector.
Nissan is targeting significant growth in Africa as the company builds momentum towards achieving its Power 88 goals, a commitment to reach 8% 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 organisational 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.
He 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 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 instrumental in our decision to open an assembly plant in partnership with the Stallion Group, already our exclusive distributor in Nigeria,” added Whitfield.