Nissan has invested R3bn ($215m) at its facility in South Africa with the aim of almost doubling production and supporting local supply chains.
The investment will see the Rosslyn plant in Pretoria producing Nissan’s next generation Navara pick up truck, part of an initiative to develop the site as a light commercial vehicle hub.
Production is due to start in 2020 and will create up to 1,200 jobs directly at the facility as well as within the local supply chain.
The manufacturer has worked with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), a local government agency that promotes small businesses in the supply chain, to identify 15 black-owned companies to partner with to increase spending on local content in preparation for the production of the Navara.
Nissan and the AIDC have previously partnered on an automotive incubation programme to support black-owned businesses in South Africa, and 34% of the manufacturer’s South African suppliers are from the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment startup programme.
Mike Whitfield, managing director for the Nissan Group of Africa, said: "Vehicles already account for around 14% of total exports from South Africa. Navara production will allow us to expand Rosslyn's role as an export hub for light commercial vehicles and contribute further to the local automotive sector."
It is predicted the Navara’s production will add a further 30,000 units to the facility’s current annual production volume of 35,000. The investment will also be used to develop a flexible production line and additional facilities and support staff training and development.
President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa said the investment was further proof of the increasing contribution of the automotive industry to the country.
He said: "Automotive is already the largest part of South Africa's manufacturing sector, contributing around 7% GDP annually and accounting for a third of manufacturing output. I am delighted Nissan will produce Navara here and congratulate the employees for their efforts in securing this important model."
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