West African conglomerate, Stallion Group, successfully rolled out its first Nissan-branded vehicle from its Lagos assembly plant in a landmark development pursuant to Nigeria’s recent policy announcement. Stallion is Nissan’s exclusive distributor in Nigeria and has commissioned its automotive assembly facility to international standards.
Announcing the inaugural rollout of a gleaming black Nissan Patrol vehicle from the plant, Stallion Group’s chairman, Sunil Vaswani said: “In October 2013, upon the announcement of federal government’s new auto policy, Nissan and Stallion had committed to commencing assembly by April this year. We are immensely pleased to mark our success in meeting this targeted time frame.”
Commenting on the partnership, Vaswani said: “Our long -term partnership with Nissan will continue to flourish, resulting in expansion of our capacities and product range. Several other upcoming models, including the Almera (Sunny) and pickups will shortly be made available to our valued customers in Nigeria. The commencement of assembly will also generate significant employment opportunities for Nigerians and establishment of several ancilliary industries.”
He added: “We believe that this is a historic moment in Nigeria’s progress towards creating and fostering local industries. It will result in Nigeria becoming the region’s leader in automotive industry”.
Takashi Hata, Nissan’s senior vice president and chairman for the African, Middle East and Indian region said: “For Nissan, Africa is our strategic growth driver. Demand for cars is growing quickly in African markets. By acting quickly to begin production in Nigeria, we are securing for ourselves first-mover advantage.”
Nissan South Africa Managing Director Mike Whitfield, who also heads up Nissan’s Sub Sahara Africa region, is delighted with the successful launch of the first Patrol. “Nissan was a pioneer in the foundation of the car industry in South Africa. Now we are once again at the forefront of manufacturing in Africa, this time in Nigeria where we see huge potential. We want to play our part in the economicgrowth of Nigeria and Africa.”
The rollout of the first Nissan vehicle comes shortly after confirmation that Nigeria’s booming economy has now overtaken that of South Africa.
Africa’s most populous country is pivotal to Nissan’s mid-term growth plan, which seeks to double sales on the continent by FY2016, up from 110,000 units at the end of FY2012.
Nissan’s association with local heavyweight Stallion Group in Nigeria has stimulated the brand’s prospects in the country and is expected to drive its growth plans with higher momentum.