By BennettÂ Oghifo
Officials of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., from its headquarters in Japan, recently visited Nigeria to discuss strategies with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) on how to expand the capacity of the Nissan manufacturing facility to produce and supply affordably priced vehicles; create opportunity for workers, as well as ancillary firms and the communities.
The visit, according to a statement by VON Nigeria, was part of on-going appraisal of Nissanâ€™s vehicle assembly project in the country.
Leader of the Nissan delegation, Senior Vice President Middle-East, Africa and India (AMI) Peyman Kargar said: â€œOur visit to the Nissan facility in Nigeria is aimed at helping the plant to sustain its status as a reassuring brand with proclivity for improved performance, sales and after sales.â€Â
Also adding that the time is right for Nigeria to sustainably and inclusively explore the gains of automotive policy to produce vehicles with unprecedented value, yet affordably priced, Mr. Kargar said: â€œNigeria is one of Nissanâ€™s most outstanding markets in Africa growth strategy and we are ready to partner with the federal government to develop the market and explore the countryâ€™s strategic regional partners in the West Coast, to make Nigeria the automobile hub for evolving West African markets.â€
He said Nissan remains committed to the Nigerian economy, which has a strong potential of becoming Africaâ€™s wealthiest country.
Kargar referred to Nigeriaâ€™s auto policy as exceptionally inclusive and thorough, one of the traits that inform Nissanâ€™s eagerness to make a greater contribution in the Nigerian market.
â€œWe are happy to continue our collaboration with the government to transform Nigeria into a notable manufacturing and distribution hub,â€ he said.
The six-man delegation was received by the NADDC Director General/CEO Jelani Aliyu before proceeding on to inspect the Stallion NMN facility at VON Automobile Nigeria.
Other delegates include Nissan South Africa Managing Director/CEO Mike Whitfield, Managing Director Sales and Marketing Xavier Gobille, Director Sales and Operations Jim Dando as well as Africa, Middle East and India Managing Director Frederic Posez and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Programme, Product, Marketing Intelligence General manager Vincent Valdmann.
Local Nissan custodian – Stallion NMN, member of the Stallion Group became the first indigenous stakeholder in 2014 to roll-out locally assembled Nissan vehicles consequent upon the ratification of the National Automotive Policy, assembling four Nissan models including Patrol SUV, NP300, NV350 and Almera.
The company has since inaugurated 11 Nissan dealerships across six geopolitical zones of the country, and achieved 10% market share in FY14 and 18% market share in FY15 coupled with notable presence in Victoria Island and Gbagada Lagos as well as in Abuja and Port-Harcourt.
Nissan seeks to continue to provide expertise and technological adivisory support to boost Nigeriaâ€™s economic diversification strategies, using the automotive sub-sector to achieve inclusive and shared growth.
Stallion NMN Managing Director Pavir Singh said they are midful of the challenges of affordability, saying the company is keen on producing qualitative standard and affordably priced vehicles to cater for different spheres of needs.
Mr. Singh said, â€œWe as manufacturers are willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government, making vehilces affordable for everyone. We have demonstarted the capacity of our plant, which can produce 100,000 vehicles annually.
â€œThe auto industry worldwide contributes an average of 11.5 percent to the GDP of their respective countries and the same can be replicated here in Nigeria.â€