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Nissan bigwigs in Nigeria target vibrant auto market, affordable cars

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Moses Akaigwe    08072100049

A top-level delegation from Nissan Motor Co. headquarters in Japan has held discussions with the leadership of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) as the visitors seek to enhance their brand’s vehicle assembly project in Nigeria.

It was learnt that strategies discussed by the two parties would be deployed towards expanding the capacity of the Nissan manufacturing facility to produce affordably priced vehicles, create opportunity for workers, as well as ancillary firms and the communities.

Giving insight into their mission, the leader of the Nissan delegation, Senior Vice President Middle-East, Africa and India (AMI), Peyman Kargar, said: “Our visit to the Nissan facility in Nigeria is aimed at helping the plant to sustain its status as areassuring brand with proclivity for improved performance, sales and after sales.”

Noting that the time was right for Nigeria to sustainably explore the gains of automotive policy to produce affordably priced vehicles with unprecedented value, Kargar said: “Nigeria is one of Nissan’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 country’s strategic regional partners in the West Coast, to make Nigeria the automobile hub for evolving West African markets.”

He said Nissan remains committed to the Nigerian economy, which has a strong potential of becoming Africa’s wealthiest country.

Kargar referred to Nigeria’s auto policy as exceptionally inclusive and thorough, one of the traits that inform Nissan’s eagerness to make a greater contribution in the Nigerian market.

“We are happy to continue our collaboration with the government to transform Nigeria into a notable manufacturing and distribution hub,” he said.

The six-man delegation was received by the NADDC Director General, Jelani Aliyu before proceeding on to inspect the Stallion NMN facility at VON Automobile Nigeria, Ojo, Lagos.

Other delegates included Nissan South Africa Managing Director/CEO, Mike Whitfield; Managing Director, Sales and Marketing, Xavier Gobille; Director Sales and Operations, Jim Dando; Africa, Middle East and India Managing Director, Frederic Posez and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Programme, Product, Marketing Intelligence General manager, Vincent Valdmann.

In 2014, local Nissan custodian and a member of the Stallion Group, Stallion NMN, became the first indigenous stakeholder to roll out locally assembled Nissan vehicles following the coming into effect of the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP also called the Automotive Policy}.

The VON Automobile assembly project took off with the roll-out of 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 percent market share in 2014 and 18 percent market share the following year, 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 Nigeria’s economic diversification strategies, using the automotive sub-sector to achieve inclusive and shared growth.

Stallion NMN Managing Director, Pavir Singh, said the company is midful of the challenges of affordability, saying the plant is keen on producing qualitative standard and affordably pricedvehicles to cater for different spheres of needs.

“We as manufacturers are willing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government, making vehilces affordable for everyone.We have demonstartedthe capacity of our plant, which can produce 100,000 vehicles annually.

“The 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,” Mr. Singh said.

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