Nissan's Innovation Weaved Into Ma-Africa Case Study

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Nissan’s innovation weaved into Ma’ Africa

About twenty years ago, Nissan set foot in Africa. At the time, Nissan imported and shipped its vehicles directly from Japan, appointing traders with a focus on sales with not much else happening.

By the start of the 21st century, several automotive manufacturers grasped Africa’s enormous potential, and suddenly, distributors and small manufacturing plants set up shop all over in emerging Africa counties.

By 2005, the industry was starting to take strong hold. By then, Nissan already threaded a trading network across the continent with an acute understanding of Africa’s complexities.

“But it was only during 2008 when we really took control of our destiny in Africa,” says Jim Dando, General Manager
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Since quality engineering is of the essence, Nissan brought in skilled engineers and talents from across the world to train people locally, thereby providing jobs and investing in skills development.

“As we grow, and the plant getting better and bigger, we’ll be able to offer more opportunities to Nigerians with large investments towards their development and capacity building.”

Nissan sees opportunity for rapid growth in Nigeria, and was market leader in calendar year 2015 from January to April. “The potential in Nigeria remains huge, purely because of its high population, upcoming entrepreneurs and rapidly growing middleclass,” Dando says.

“Angola was a total surprise,” admits Dando. “It was actually the first country where we could see the emergence of the middleclass and how quickly it grew.”

“At first the Angolan market looked unsuitable, but then we realised the road network in and around Luanda has grown tremendously well, going from broken down to well developed, and wealth creation possibilities was exponential.”

However due to the slump in the oil industry and overall economy, and the exchange rate challenges, Nissan paused operations a bit in Angola. “We will wait it out, the economy will come right as it always
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“It’s the first time we experienced such a long depression of economy in Ghana, but Nissan keeps pushing forward.”

In 2014 FY, Nissan held the number one position in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and Mozambique.

In Zimbabwe, Nissan vehicles are supplied directly from South Africa to three officials Nissan dealers. “Previously Zimbabwe was managed from out South Africa, but today it has a well-oiled dealership network,” Dando says.

The Mauritius dealership seems to be the star in Africa, operating in a very well developed market according to Dando. “If you have the right product and right price, it just goes.”

“The challenge there is, the country is small with a limited population and I think we’re close to reaching saturation point. The growth might not be great, but Mauritius remains a large contributor to our success.”

Ethiopia has a large population of 94 million and still growing, with a curved market growth trajectory. Dando says, “We simply need to be there as it’s sub-Saharan Africa 's fifth biggest economy and a focal point of emerging industries.”

Nissan’s strategy for its dealer network expansion in Africa is underscored by strong relations with its National Sales Companies (NSC) and direct to dealer

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