Local production of the next-generation Nissan Navara is expected to create an estimated 1 200 new jobs in the automotive sector.
Manufacturing is expected to begin in 2020 at Nissan’s Rosslyn-based facility, where output is expected to grow by more than 50%.
Growing the facility’s capacity to this level will require a two-shift operation, which will result in the immediate creation of an additional 400 jobs, Nissan said in a statement on Thursday.
“Nissan has a deep understanding of the need to invest in skills development in a meaningful way. Not just for our benefit, in terms of having a skilled workforce at our technologically advanced vehicle manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, but also for the benefit of all the eager, young minds in this country, who are simply seeking opportunities to improve themselves,” Nissan Group Africa MD Mike Whitfield said in the statement.
Speaking at the recent announcement of the company’s decision to manufacture the next-generation Navara locally, President Cyril Ramaphosa touted the automotive sector as “an essential part of the industrialisation of the economy”.
Nissan quoted the President as having said that “the sector is a reliable partner, but it is also a dependable ally, as it has demonstrated by this investment, on our path to position manufacturing as a catalyst to development and inclusive growth”.
Moreover, Nissan further said that it had, in partnership with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), built an incubation and training centre at the Rosslyn manufacturing facility, through which a five-year training and mentorship programme is offered.
This programme serves to equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to run their companies, with the AIDC’s focus on providing them with the business skills they need and Nissan’s focus on giving them the necessary technical know-how.
“Programme hopefuls subject themselves to a rigorous selection process which includes multiple rounds of interviews, as well as a two-day assessment, incorporating psychometrics, role play and a case study,” the AIDC’s Dineshan Moodley explained.
From here, successful candidates are enrolled in the programme and taught about assembly line layout, process optimisation, efficiency improvements, housekeeping, finance management, human resource management, payroll overview, company taxes, cost management and quality management systems.
Through this programme, eight new black-owned suppliers have so far been developed; with current plans to develop five more, to be operational for local production of the new Navara pickup.
Nissan teams from Japan will also work with South African suppliers to develop the local component industry through technical support, training and skills exchange.
“We aim to localise more in order to grow South African vehicle production, as well as contribute to the transformation of the country’s automotive value chain as a whole,” Whitfield concluded.