Nissan South Africa intends to invest R90 million in supplier tooling and production facilities and raise local content by 40 per cent this year.

Nissan South Africa intends to invest R90 million in supplier tooling and production facilities and raise local content by 40 per cent this year.

“We will focus on taking those areas of our business which have done well in 2002 to new heights this year and concentrate on any weaker areas so that our market share (which Nissan claimed grew by 17 per cent last year) continues its upward trend through 2003,” Mike Whitfield, executive vice president of Nissan SA, said recently.

Nissan will seek to gain further export credits, which were built up in 2002 by virtue of the export of the Nissan Hardbody one tonners to Africa, this year.

“Our plans to increase local content are not just centred on the Hardbody range but also the Almera sedan. We intend to increase local content in stages through 2004 by 40 per cent. This will involve 500 additional components which will be sourced from South Africa, resulting in an estimated foreign exchange saving of over R100 million and new job creation,” Whitfield added.

Total investment will be R90 million, which will also include investment in supplier tooling and production facilities. Nissan claims that the localisation of components will make the Rosslyn-based manufacturer “less subject to the vagaries of exchange rates on local pricing”.

“The recent strength of the rand will also go a considerable way towards helping not just Nissan, but the entire motor industry, to cap price increases in 2003,” Whitfield said.

Last year, Nissan concentrated on reviving its brand image, and Whitfield said the manufacturer was “once again regaining the respect we believe it deserves.

“This has been helped by the success of our most recent product introductions - the Almera sedan, the X-TRAIL SUV and the Hardbody one tonner range. All these are selling extremely well with demand outstripping supply in many variants,” Whitfield said.

In 2003 and for the next five years, Nissan will continue to focus on building its brand at company and dealer level and in all its marketing and advertising activities, Whitfield said.

“Nissan has laid a solid groundwork to continue to improve market share and to play a greater role in the future development of the South African motor industry,” he added.

Original article from Car