June 29, 2020 / 11:38 AM / 5 days ago

Nissan to launch 7 models in Africa to pursue growth

FILE PHOTO: Nissan Motor's logo is pictured at its headquarters in Yokohama, Japan February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) aims to launch seven new models in Africa over the next two years, company executives said on Monday, as the Japanese automaker seeks to focus on high-growth markets to try to weather the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The company announced a plan last month to cut the number of models it makes globally and improve efficiency after the pandemic triggered its first annual loss in 11 years.

Nissan will expand its SUV and cross-over portfolio in Africa with seven new models, of which four will be in the SUV (sports utility vehicle) category, Shinkichi Izumi, managing director at Nissan South Africa, said.

It plans to make Africa a hub for light commercial vehicles (LCV), will increase production of its popular Navara pick-ups and open plants in Ghana and Kenya, Izumi said.

He did not disclose details of the investment and levels of production for the region, although Nissan said last year it would spend 3 billion rand ($174.07 million) on its Navara model.

“We are going to locally produce the new Navara model and we are also looking at export,” Guillaume Cartier, Chairman for Nissan’s Africa, Middle East, and India (AMI) region, told a media call.

Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; editing by Barbara Lewis

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