The company is set to reach its total export target of 6 500 units for the whole of 2003 compared to 5 778 units last year.
In the first seven months of this year direct exports to Africa totalled 3 701 units against 2 535 in the first seven months of 2002.
The company also exports to a distribution point in Le Havre, which re-exports South African built vehicles to various territories in Africa. In 2003, 290 units were exported to Le Havre.
According to Julian Cook, Senior Manager of Nissan's Export Division, left hand drive vehicles account for 30% of exports and right hand drive markets for 70%.
"However, it is the right hand drive market which has shown the most growth, following the success of the new Hardbody range launched in South Africa, demand for which has seen Nissan take second spot in the South African light commercial market this year.
"Particularly strong growth was recorded in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania," he says.
Nissan SA has 44% of the total South African passenger and light commercial vehicle export market to Africa.
However, by far the majority of vehicles exported by Nissan are one tonner Nissan Harbody pick ups and the company has 53% of the market for this category of vehicle.
Nissan has a presence in over 30 countries in Africa and in 2003 have actively exported to nine right hand drive countries and 12 left hand drive, plus to Le Havre.
"Previously, our approved export area, was confined to sub-Saharan Africa.
"We have recently been able to expand to Mediterranean Africa, such as Algeria, and this has given us further export growth," he adds.
"If you look at the growth of our exports from 2 633 units in 1999, 4 736 in 2000, 5 416 in 2001 and 5 778 in 2002, it would be unrealistic to expect this speed of growth to continue.
"However we are hopeful of reaching our target of 6 500 units for 2003, but several factors are mitigating against future strong growth.
Firstly the African market is maturing and is expected to stabilise at around its current offtake level. Secondly, the strengthening of the rand this year is adversely affecting price competitiveness of the South African product in many of our traditionally strong export markets on the continent."
"We have also had some success in exporting vehicles to UN supported organisations throughout Africa, with nearly 100 units going to this market in the first half of this year, and it is our objective to make Nissan Hardbody the vehicle of choice for aid organisations and NGOs and this will give us a further growth opportunity," Cook says.
"There is no doubt the success of the new Hardbody in South Africa is assisting our export drive with customers in Africa, like their counterparts in South Africa, recognising the pedigree, new styling, toughness and affordability of the vehicle," he says.