Japanese motor manufacturer Nissan has restructured its operations in Africa into two regional business units to position the company for significant growth on the continent, as part of its mid-term business strategy.
Nissan aims to double sales in Africa by its 2016 financial year from the 110 000 units sold in its 2012 financial year.
Under the new structure, Nissan Motor Egypt has expanded its scope to manage the Africa North regional business unit, covering Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia. It is headed by Nissan Motor Egypt managing director Kazutaka Nambu.
The Africa South regional business unit will be managed by Nissan South Africa managing director Mike Whitfield, and comprises the remaining African markets, including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Kenya.
The units, with responsibility for all locally based functions, including sales and marketing and manufacturing, will still be supported by an Africa Department in Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama.
Trevor Mann, Nissan’s executive vice-president and chairman for the Africa, Middle East and India region, said the African automotive market had huge potential for growth.
The firm had a 7.9 percent market share in Africa but as part of its mid-term plan wanted to increase that through new model introductions, building a stronger brand and expanding its retail network.
“The new business structure will help us achieve these objectives by placing a great emphasis on empowering our teams within Africa, who are best placed to understand and serve our customers and react to a diverse and complex market,” he said.
Last year, Nissan said it would be investing more than R1 billion in South Africa to double production capacity at its Rosslyn assembly plant to 100 000 units a year and prepare for the production in late 2014 of a new one-ton pick-up.
Toshiyuki Shiga, the chief operating officer of the Nissan Motor Company of Japan, said at the time that the capacity expansion in South Africa was important for Nissan’s ambitious global growth strategy.
Whitfield said Africa was regarded as a huge opportunity by car makers because it had about 16 percent of the world’s population but accounted for only just over 1 percent of total industry new vehicle volumes.
Last year Nissan grew its sales in Africa by 19.6 percent year on year, almost double the rate of growth in the overall domestic market, with Egypt posting a 50 percent rise and South Africa 14 percent.
Over the next three years, Nissan aims to raise Africa’s contribution to its global “Nissan Power 88 business plan”, which targets a global market share of 8 percent by 2016.
A number of new models have already been confirmed. They include a relaunch of the Datsun brand in South Africa before the end of next year.
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