By Theodore Opara
Nissan announced its best sales year in nearly two decades, hiking 10 percent market share in fiscal year 2017, with passenger vehicles growing 44 percent against the previous year and small pick-ups mustering a share of 19.5 percent up by nearly a fifth.
Datsun, the brand’s highest market share in South Africa since 1981 similarly rose to 1.3%, just as the Sub-Saharan Africa sales also grew, rising to 13.9%.
Nissan Sub-Sahara said the sales success came on the back of product launches including the Patrol, X-Trail and Micra Active.
Nissan had in the year under review, also focused on customer service, winning 8 awards.
“Nissan is now poised to build on our success with further growth in Africa,” said Mike Whitfield, Managing Director of Nissan South Africa who added “We have invested almost R1 billion to increase the efficiency of our plant at Rosslyn, increasing automation without reducing jobs, and in training and skills development for our people.”
Nissan has developed its supplier base with initiatives to encourage young black entrepreneurs to become suppliers and the company continues to produce a high number of engineers at Rosslyn through its graduate development programme, which has been supporting South Africa employees to become master trainers by sending them to Nissan manufacturing plants across the world.
To drive future growth, Nissan will focus on further developing its dealership network in South Africa with improved customer experience and enhanced facilities, while it continues to work to increase its share of the passenger vehicle market, and maintaining its strong position in bakkies.
Nissan was the first manufacturer to introduce electric vehicles to South Africa, with the Nissan LEAF launched locally in 2013. Globally, more than 300,000 units of the LEAF have been sold, more than any other electric vehicle.
“The global automotive industry is going through revolutionary technological change, with electric vehicles, autonomous driving and connectivity,” said Mike Whitfield who stressed “South Africa has the potential to lead Africa in embracing this change, and the automotive industry here and the economy stand to benefit. To do that we need to ensure that the infrastructure and support are in place in South Africa to help build demand for these products.”