KARACHI: Commercial production of three Nissan models will begin in the second half of 2020.
“We will begin with the assembly of a 1,200cc Datsun Cross in July 2020 and then roll out the 1,200cc Datsun Go (five seater) and Datsun Go Plus (seven seater) in the next two to three months,” Ghandhara Nissan Ltd (GNL) Project Director and Senior Executive Director Marketing and Sales Muazzam Pervez Khan told Dawn on Thursday.
“The company has also selected at least 22 vendors for making parts of these vehicles,” he added.
Talking about the localisation level in these three variants, he said the company plans to achieve 35-40 per cent indigenisation in the next three years after an initial start of 18pc.
“Prices have so far not been fixed as much will depend on rupee-dollar parity in future,” he said.
“GNL will invest Rs6.5 billion (about $47 million) over the first four years,” Khan said, adding that Nissan and GNL would work together to develop Ghandhara’s facilities at Karachi’s Port Qasim into a world-class manufacturing plant. The brownfield project would create around 1,800 jobs.
“We have planned to start production of these three vehicles with 15,000 units a year and then will take it up to 35,000 units in the next five years,” Khan added.
On further introduction of new models, he said, “Our talks are going on with Nissan but nothing has finalised yet.”
On Thursday, GNL and Nissan held the first major event for parts suppliers since announcing local production last year.
The event was attended by more than 35 local parts supplier companies. Nissan and GNL shared plans on support for the local component sectors including the introduction of world class production processes, ongoing skills sharing and training.
Meanwhile, CEO GNL Ahmad Kuli Khan Khattak said the company is committed to offering the strongest support to the component industry.
“This event demonstrates how we will collaborate closely to provide our customers with an expanded choice of products and a fantastic ownership experience,” he said.
He said Nissan’s entry would provide Pakistani customers with a fresh and desirable line-up designed and built with modern Japanese engineering.
Nissan’s Regional Vice President for the Africa, Middle East and India region, Masahiko Sakamoto said GNL and Nissan are actively working to enhance and support the local automotive sector in its ongoing development.
The Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP), earlier in 2018, had awarded brownfield investment status to GNL under the Auto Development Policy 2016-21 for revival of an existing industry or facility for the manufacturing of Datsun cars.
The joint venture between GNL and Nissan Motors would provide a significant boost to the automotive industry which already accounts for about 4pc of Pakistan’s gross domestic product.
Nissan is making a second attempt in the Pakistani market. In the past, consumers had witnessed only one locally-assembled Nissan Sunny.
GNL had assembled 599 Sunny in 1996-97 but after ups and downs the production came to a halt in 2003-2004.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019