The third-generation Pathfinder plays a key role in Nissan South Africa's next phase of brand revitalisation, says the company's managing director Julio Panama.

The third-generation Pathfinder plays a key role in Nissan South Africa's next phase of brand revitalisation, says the company's managing director Julio Panama.

Speaking at the launch of the New Nissan Pathfinder on Wednesday, Panama told journalists that the new SUV was pivotal to the future of the brand, both locally and abroad.

South Africa's Pathfinder is sourced from Spain and is one of 15 new products planned from 2005 to 2008 as part of the brand's extension into new segments of the South African market.

The next planned instalment to the Nissan family is the Murano SUV, planned for local introduction in October this year.

The move forms part of Nissan's "Value Up Plan" (following the "Revival" and 'Nissan 180" - strategies started in 1998) through which the company intends to grow "from 3,6 million units per year to 4,2 million units, maintain a two-digit operating profit and maintain return on invested capital by 20 per cent", Panama said.

He added that as one of the core operations in Nissan's General Overseas Market (GOM), the local subsidiary aimed to be one of the top customer-focussed companies in South Africa within the next three to five years, and wanted at least 78 per cent of the local market share by 2010.

To ensure the plan's fruition, Panama said a second shift (accounting for 100 extra jobs) had recently been added at the Rosslyn plant. An planned investment of R700-million has been allocated to the company over the next few years to improve the quality of vehicles and also to upgrade its dealerships.

Nissan SA remains a major exporter into the African continent, Panama said, and holds about 60 per cent of the export share. Also, following the announcement this year that the popular Hardbody would soon be exported to Australia and the UK, he added that further export notices would be made soon.

Original article from Car