The Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody Dakar racer
Nissan qualifies for membership of Proudly South African as a result of its achievement in manufacturing the Almera passenger car, 1400 bakkie and Hardbody pickup ranges at its Rosslyn factory in Gauteng, with a local content of 65%.
"We're delighted that Nissan South Africa has successfully met the credential requirements for membership of Proudly South African, and particularly proud that we are the first local vehicle manufacturer to achieve this.
"We are a Proudly South African company and believe in the future of our country and the ability of our peoples to work together to make South Africa an even better place to live and work," says Mike Whitfield, Nissan's director of sales and marketing.
"Nissan Japan's considerable investment in South Africa, bolstered by the recent announcement of an additional R250-million investment in a contract to export single cab Hardbody pickups to Europe, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, is a clear indication of the confidence Nissan has in South Africa, its economy, its government and its people.
"We are one of seven local vehicle manufacturers, tracing our South African roots back to 1959, and we provide employment for some 2 500 people at Nissan.
"As a local manufacturer we have conscientiously met the requirements of the government's local content and Motor Industry Development programmes.
"We are in the process of increasing local content on our Almera and Hardbody ranges in stages through 2004 by 40%. This involves some 500 additional components which are sourced from South African component suppliers, resulting in a forex saving of over R100-million, together with job creation."
Martin Feinstein, the chief executive of Proudly South African, congratulated Nissan on joining the campaign and said that the company's new export contract would benefit a number of local suppliers and would also increase Nissan South Africa's production volumes.
Proudly South African, which encourages the buying of South African products and support of local services, recognised Nissan Motorsport in December 2002, shortly before a team of 18 engineers, technicians and drivers left the country to compete with three South African built and developed racing Hardbodys in the 2003 international Dakar Rally.
The red Proudly South African Nissan vehicles carried the organisation's logo throughout the 19-day 8 552 km event through five countries in Europe and North Africa, with 2001 national off-road drivers champion Giniel de Villiers finishing fifth overall in his and Nissan's first official attempt at this famous marathon event.
Four locally developed and built racing Proudly South Africa Nissan Hardbody's competed in the 2004 Dakar Rally in January, with De Villiers and his national championship co-driver Francois Jordaan finishing seventh overall in what has been described as the toughest Dakar ever.