Nissan's first Nigerian-produced vehicle, the Nissan Patrol, has rolled off the company's assembly line in Lagos. This is the latest in the automaker's expansion into emerging markets, fueled by the new Nigeria Automotive Policy.
The new Nigeria Automotive Policy was passed in late 2013 and is aimed at discouraging the importation of wholly assembled automobiles and encourage local manufacturing, according to ventures-africa.com.
The first “built in Nigeria for Nigerians” Nissan Patrol follows the signing last year of a Memorandum of Understanding for vehicle assembly in Lagos between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and West African conglomerate Stallion Group, according to Nissan.
“For Nissan, Africa is our strategic growth driver. Demand for cars is growing quickly in African markets as demonstrated by the first model being produced a mere seven months after the announcement of the new Automotive Policy. By acting quickly to begin production in Nigeria we are securing for ourselves first-mover advantage,” said Takashi Hata, Nissan Senior Vice President and Chairman for the Africa, Middle East and India region.
The rollout of the first Nissan vehicle comes shortly after confirmation that Nigeria’s booming economy has now overtaken that of South Africa. Africa’s most populous country is pivotal to Nissan’s mid-term growth plan, which seeks to double sales on the continent by FY2016, up from 110,000 units at the end of FY2012, according to the automaker.
Nissan said it is targeting significant growth in Africa as the company builds momentum towards achieving its Power 88 goals, a commitment to reach 8 percent profitability by the end of fiscal year 2016. Elsewhere in the world as part of the high-growth markets strategy, plants have been opened in Mexico and Brazil with projects underway in Indonesia, Thailand and China. Last year Nissan announced it will be the first manufacturer to build cars in Myanmar, after the opening up of the economy in the southeast Asian country.
In addition to the Patrol, Nissan also plans to produce the Almera and NP300, starting in early May and followed by mass production in August. With these three models, Nissan said it aims to be a significant player in the market.