By Maxwell Ofori
A global full-line vehicle manufacturer, Nissan, has reached an agreement with the Government of Ghana to establish an automotive manufacturing industry in the country.
The manufacturing industry, when ready, would also serve as the hub for sales and marketing of Nissan in West Africa.
The announcement was made yesterday when the Managing Director of Nissan Group of Africa, Mike Whitfield, paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo.
In his remarks to the President, Mr. Whitfield said Nissan’s intention is to be the first car-maker to assemble vehicles in Ghana, building on its market leadership in the country.
According to him, Nissan models, accounted for 32.8% of vehicle sales in Ghana last year, with the company’s cars, pickups and SUVs sold through a national network of six sales and service outlets.
“Nissan is the most popular auto brand in Ghana because the quality of our products and services has won the trust of our customers,” Whitfield said.
He continued, “We want to build on our leadership by supporting the government to create the environment for a successful automotive manufacturing industry in the country.
“Building vehicles in Ghana will enable us to further improve the products and services we offer to our customers here and will have significant, long-term benefits for the economy in terms of jobs and growth.”
President Akufo-Addo welcomed the decision by Nissan to establish an automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana.
The President believed Nissan’s decision rightly falls in line with his administration’s desire to boost the industrial activities of the country, where it could add value to the raw materials before export.
“To have an A+ company like yours in Ghana is positive and we welcome you strongly. We hope that the MoU that will be signed will not just remain an MoU but will translate into concrete benefits for us all,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Just after the meeting with the President, the team from Nissan, signed the Memorandum of Understanding, to make it official, the setting up of the manufacturing industry.
The Managing Director of Nissan Group of Africa, Mike Whitfield, signed on behalf of the company, and the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanten also signed for Ghana.
The MoU seeks to unlock economic potential, promote development of the automotive sector and promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks that encourage sustainable car manufacturing. The aim is to promote infrastructure development, job creation and skills development in Ghana.
The Minister for Trade, Alan Kyerematen making few remarks before signing, indicated that for Nissan to make such a decision to set up a manufacturing industry in Ghana to serve the whole West African, showed the confidence the company had in the country and the policies of the Akufo-Addo led Government.
Explaining further on the supply chain that underpins the auto industry, the Minister noted that, not only would the Nissan’s production base in Ghana provide jobs, “…it is also going to provide a basis for technology and innovation in our country…”
Industry wide vehicle sales in Ghana have been growing steadily at an annual rate of about 10% and now stand at about 9,150 vehicles a year.
Working closely with the government of Ghana and with other members of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, Nissan will provide its global expertise to establish a sustainable auto manufacturing industry in the country.
The agreement builds on Nissan’s investment in Nigeria where, in 2013, the company became the first major automaker to assemble cars.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen.
On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen.
Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016.