Nissan is set to open a vehicle assembly plant in Ghana with its longtime partner, Japan Motors Trading Company Ltd. (JMTC), appointed as its local partner in all new vehicle assembly facility in Tema, Ghana.
The appointment is a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between Nissan and the government of Ghana in 2018 to lay the foundation for a sustainable automotive manufacturing industry in the country.
The first model to be assembled at the new facility will be the all-new Nissan Navara Pickup, unveiled by Nissan earlier this month. Nissan has a long heritage within the pickup segment and the new model will be produced to specifications created for the African market.
The event for the big announcement of the Nissan Vehicle Assembly in Ghana was held in Accra and brought together key stakeholders in Ghana’s automobile industry including Ministers of State, Members of Parliament and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Executive Director, Sales and Marketing West Africa, JMTC, Mr Nouhad Kalmoni, said the assembly of vehicles by Nissan in the country was to build on its leadership in manufacturing of vehicles through supporting government to create the environment for a successful automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana.
Japan Motors, he said, was proud to see its association with Nissan bore much fruit in the interest of Ghana as it led this innovation. “Ghana has now entered a new dawn by having partners like Nissan not only for assembling of vehicles but also have Nissan make the country its hub for sales and marketing in West Africa.
The Managing Director of Japan Motors, Mr Salem Kalmoni, thanked Nissan for the trust and gave an assurance that with JMTC’s long experience in the motor industry, it had the financial strength and the stamina to carry through this great venture.
He recalled Japan Motors as the first company in Ghana to import Japanese made vehicles in 1958.
“Ten years after we were awarded the Nissan franchise, in February 1968, Japan Motors commissioned a vehicle manufacturing plant. The vehicle manufacturing continued for 12 years until it came to an abrupt stop in 1980. The vehicles produced then were the pick-up, the pick-up people-carrier, and 120Y Datsun saloon car. As such, what we have done before as a nation and as a company, we can do again today and even better”, he said.
“Plans and preparations are ongoing for the current assembly plant. Fortunately, we have several properties in Tema constituting of Bonded Warehouses and ancillary new-vehicle car parks and we intend to locate the assembly plant on one of them; a 5.3 acre property located at Cocoa Processing Road valued at $4.3 million.
Additionally, we intend to invest $3million in expanding, upgrading and equipping the current facilities of our property. Renovations have started already, and with the support of Nissan, we hope to commission the plant in the third quarter of 2021,” he said.
Economic benefit to the nation
Mr Kalmoni admitted that the company was aware the Ghana Automotive Development Policy (GADP) envisages the creation of jobs and technology transfer as such JMTC’s plant will operate at the beginning as a Semi Knocked Down assembly level with one shift and will create 40 new jobs.
“This one shift will have the capacity to assemble up to 1,700 units per year. When we reach three shifts, this number will multiply by three,” he said.
The Managing Director of Nissan South Africa, Mr Shinkichi Izumi, expressed optimism that Ghana presented a great opportunity for investment, partnership and growth for Nissan. “Establishing a long-term automotive industrial development policy will provide investors with further confidence, boost the local economy and create jobs’’.
The Minister of Trade & Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, underscored the announcement of the Nissan vehicle Assembly plant as a giant step towards the development of Ghana’s automobile industry and to create the path of becoming the new centre of attraction and automotive hub for the continent.
“Five critical conditions that are required for a country to get to a point where one can become efficient automotive hub include: Demand for vehicles, Policy and regulatory framework that supports the growth, industrial infrastructure, existence of skilled labour and the potential for component manufacturing. I am pleased to note that Ghana responds favourably to all these conditions”.
“Nissan already has a strong brand appeal in Ghana with its quality, good value for money, high re-sale value and very strong after-sales service so I am confident the return of Nissan will be one of success. The government, for our part, will provide the necessary support”, he added.