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New Nissan bakkie to be built in SA

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Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga tries out the drivers seat of a left-hand drive Nissan bakkie built at Rosslyn for export.

Nissan South Africa plans to spend R1 billion on doubling the capacity of its plant at Rosslyn near Pretoria over the next four years, to create a production line for a new one-tonne bakkie.

No details of the new bakkie have been released, but it's thought to be the replacement for the current Navara, and it'll be built alongside the current NP200, NP 300 Hardbody, the Nissan Livina range and the Renault Sandero.

Nissan SA managing director Mike Whitfield, made the announcement during a visit to the plant by Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga.

Whitfield said the increase in capacity would see the South African plant producing a potential 100 000 vehicles annually by 2016, driven primarily by the new bakkie - which would mean about 800 new jobs at Rosslyn, plus about another 4000 in the component supply community.

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Welcoming Shiga-san at the Rosslyn plant Whitfield said that in today's climate of economic uncertainty and low-cost competitiveness, the support from Nissan in Japan for local operations was a huge boost.

“It's a vote of confidence in Nissan SA both as a manufacturer and as a driver of sales on the African continent and beyond.”

In addition to the local production of the new one-tonner, Whitfield said that an additional B-segment passenger vehicle would be launched in South Africa “in the not so distant future” and that talks were also ongoing with key South African stakeholders on the rollout of the battery-powered Nissan Leaf, which has already been launched in Europe, the US and Japan.

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