The new Nissan Navara reached a special milestone this week when the first vehicles rolled off the company’s newly minted production line in Rosslyn, bound for South Africa and countries all over Africa.
The official start of production on June 15 was marked by a group of employees somewhat thinned by Covid-19 regulations, but including Mike Whitfield, Africa Regional Business Unit Managing Director, Kabelo Rabotho, Nissan South Africa Country Director; and Shafick Solomons, Nissan South Africa Plant Director.
“This is a significant day for Nissan on the African continent,” said Whitfield. “Three years ago, Nissan South Africa had the privilege of answering President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘Thuma mina’ call on behalf of Nissan, by pledging R3-billion towards his appeal to rebuild South Africa. Today we are meeting that commitment, [with] vehicles made in Africa for Africa going out into the market.”
That investment in the Rosslyn hub ensures production of this new light commercial vehicle in various forms for markets all over Africa, built to Nissan’s global quality standards. A key part of the investment includes training of staff at new assembly hubs, and a week before Nissan graduated 12 Ghanaian engineers, who will return to set up the first Nissan assembly plant in this West African country.
How will the new Navara fare against some of the other locally assembled bakkies available in this market, including the Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux? As soon a we at Adventure Afrika get our hands on a test unit, we will be providing that feedback.