It’s’ taken a full 60 months for the first Nissan Navara to roll off the production line at the Rosslyn production site and no less than a full R3 billion in new investment to bring South Africa into the picture as one of the five main production source plant facilities to produce the world class Navara SUV vehicle.
By becoming one of the global source plants the long-term success of the Rosslyn production plant has been secured by Mike Whitfield, managing director of Nissan South Africa. This investment has seen a whole new plant installed at the primer stage of production and upgrades to improve production capacity which has also seen a new stamping and pressing panel production system installed for the roll out of the new Navara model. Right now, daily production on a single shift is approaching around 55 units and the complete line up of some 17 variant models will be on offer – including their range topping PRO-4X double cab with its very high specification.
The African concept of ‘built for African sub-Sahara’ objectives will also see the development of a Navara single cab model that will run alongside their popular NP200 pick-up model.
Shafick Solomons, plant director, says that the training and assistance on the production staff expertise has been nothing short of amazing with considerable help from Spanish and Japanese production technicians who operate a train-the-trainer concept. The Navara is the most sophisticated model from this Japanese iconic brand.
They are now able to produce on a flexible build model platform which is being implemented with new production technology. They are now aligned with the Nissan next transformation plan to increase their capability on passenger car production and on cross over model line ups to become a vital hub centre, LCV manufacturer in the local market. “The plant works along with Kenya, and Egypt,” said marketing director Stefan Haasbroek “to now make this class-leading model which capably delivers a great dynamic performance both off and on road. It’s packed with the newest safety features and ushers in a new level. of comfort and toughness with forward collision warning, intelligent braking, intelligent driver alertness, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and an intelligent all-round monitor with moving object detection and rear cross-traffic alert systems, all built in.”
The company now employ close to 1 800 full time staff at the Rosslyn facility and have been pleased that the new Navara is building so well. Even in the early ramp up production models, signs of quality have been superb and it’s a result that shows that the entire work force are behind the Nissan objectives of the Navara being built by Africans for the African export market that Nissan want to expand the SUV model into with increased sub-Saharan volumes going forward.