Japan Motor Trading Co., Ltd. (JMTC) will begin assembling Nissan cars in Ghana in the first half of 2021.
This is the result of an assembly agreement between Nissan Motor and Japanese Motor Corporation, which was announced at a ceremony in Accra on the Ghana’s Automotive Development Agenda.
Nissan Minami’s non-executive director Shikinichi Izumi said that the new partnership with Japan Motors will not affect the existing sales and service agreement between Nissan and its second local partner, Auto Parts Co., Ltd.
The all-new Nissan Navarre pickup, which Nissan released earlier this month, will be the first model to be assembled at a new plant on the Tema Coco Processing Road.
Senior Nissan Motor officials explained that the partnership with Japanese auto companies will particularly help Ghana to accelerate the process of industrialization.
In an interview, the managing director stated that Nissan’s long-term partner, Japan Automobile Trading Company, was appointed as the local partner of the auto assembly plant in recognition of Nissan’s good record of efficient service delivery and reliability.
The appointment is the result of a 2018 memorandum of understanding between Nissan and the government of Ghana, which laid the foundation for the country’s sustainable automobile manufacturing industry.
These operations will start with assembling a semi-disassembled vehicle and will gradually progress to assembling a complete disassembly kit.
Mr. Izumi said that Nissan has a long history in the field of pickup trucks, and new models will be produced in accordance with specifications suitable for the African/Ghanaian market.
The automobile development policy of the Ghanaian government is an important way of industrialization, so we decided to participate in it. We believe that this policy will accelerate industrialization, value chain creation and market liberation. ”
He said that currently, Ghana has imported 90,000 to 100,000 cars. Nissan hopes that 100,000 of them will be brand new cars, and Nissan hopes to use the government’s auto policy agreement to maintain its market leadership.
“Nissan has a strong legacy in pick-ups, which is our strongest asset in our line-up and assembling in Ghana will improve affordability and access,” he pointed out.
The focus now, he said, is on pick-ups and as the manufacturing journey progresses the company will concentrate on quality assurance and see how the market evolves and then explore further opportunities in Ghana.
The continued development of Nissan’s African manufacturing base is a key part of the company’s regional midterm strategy under the Nissan NEXT global transformation plan. Once operational, the Ghana facility will add to Nissan’s existing African production capacity at plants in South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.
The Managing Director stated that the announcement of the partnership demonstrates Nissan’s ongoing commitment to investing in Ghana, as well as the expansion of the country’s automotive sector through the Ghana Automotive Development Policy.
“Ghana presents a great opportunity for investment, partnership and growth for Nissan,” said Mr. Izumi. “Establishing a long-term automotive industrial development policy will provide investors with further confidence, boost the local economy and create jobs. We look forward to the continued partnership as Japan Motors officially begins assembling Nissan vehicles in Ghana.”
Construction of the new facility is already underway, as are the recruitment and appointment of new employees, skills development and technical training to share and apply Nissan’s global quality production standards.
“Japan Motors sees great potential in Ghana,” said Salem Kalmoni, Managing Director of Japan Motors. “We’re thrilled to make this significant investment and to be in a partnership that will unlock job opportunities and contribute to the economic development of Ghana. With world-class training, the local assembly plant will deliver an excellent product to meet our customers’ needs.”
According to Mr. Kalmoni, Ghana had some automobile manufacturing companies in the 1960s and 70s but for various reasons, they all folded up. “I hope the new partnership we have with Nissan will last much longer because the longer it lasts, the more component manufacturing comes in and the more we will get the full benefits of the industry,” he added.
He said when it comes to the local automobile industry, Japan Motors is “on the ground” and the company is set to begin operations with the provision of the physical location for the assembling works, investment in equipment and personnel, pointing out that expatriate staff will come in periodically to offer training to the local staff.
“We aim to cut cost, keep our operations clean environmentally, and create jobs,” he said, and stressed that there are many benefits down the line as the plant will serve as a catalyst for component manufacturing, such as the production of tyres, windscreens etc., “and that will never reduce jobs as some people fear”.
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