Motoring: Nissan Navara’s African conquest

According to Nissan Africa's managing director, Sherief Eldessouky, the Rosslyn facility represents Nissan's long-term commitment to South Africa and the rest of Africa.

WITH Queen Victoria's approval, Cecil John Rhodes envisioned a British Africa extending from Cape to Cairo. To some, he was a philanthropist but to others he was a plunderer.

An English mining tycoon, businessman, and politician in southern Africa, Rhodes was prime minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896.

He was born on July 5, 1853, and died on March 26, 1902. He and his British South Africa Company established Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe and Zambia) in southern Africa in 1895. The area was named after him.

A Cape to Cairo Railway via British territory was another of his ambitious dreams, and he worked tirelessly to make it a reality. Rhodes established the Rhodes scholarship, which continues to receive funding from his estate.

We are not here to talk about the vicissitudes of colonialism but to talk about Nissan Navara’s endeavour to conquer Africa. The similarities end on conquering Africa. In his quest to construct a railway line between Cairo and the Cape, Rhodes battled across the treacherous landscapes of southern Africa using scotch carts and horses.

Because of its unparalleled capability, I have no doubt that a Nissan Navara would be his first choice if he were to accomplish the same mission today because it is one bakkie that delivers on strength, stamina, speed, and a soothing drive.

As I write this, the entourage is embarking on the quest to conquer Africa.

The trip began a few weeks ago in South Africa and has since traversed Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. It will pass through eight countries before reaching Cairo, Egypt.

Daring Africa 2024 is an expedition that verifies the claim that Nissan Navaras can endure the worst African roads. The managing director of Nissan South Africa, Maciej Klenkiewicz, said it was a celebration of a fantastic history.

"With care, African hands have manufactured these Navaras, all new and constructed of more, in the same location where they assembled the first Nissan vehicle in Africa over 60 years ago."

According to Nissan Africa's managing director, Sherief Eldessouky, the Rosslyn facility represents Nissan's long-term commitment to South Africa and the rest of Africa.

"Since our founding, both locally and throughout the continent, we have had the honour of fostering relationships between employees and customers that span generations. We take great pride in our history and the bonds we have helped to build."

These days, Rosslyn is more like Nissan's LCV production centre for Africa. Nissan sells its Navaras throughout the continent, recently expanding into new markets in Algeria and Libya. The vehicle range will soon be available in Egypt.

According to Ramy Mohareb, Nissan's head of communications and public relations in Africa, "We have dubbed this journey Daring Africa" because it marks a "wonderful new chapter to Nissan Dare," the 90th anniversary celebration that took place last year.

In his opinion, there are many ways in which the adventure is risky. We can take pride in this car and show it off in a series of immersive events that stretch all the way to Cairo.

As they link their two production centres on each side of the continent, they are demonstrating their claim that the complete range of the Nissan Navara that they make on the continent can withstand the worst road conditions that Africa has to offer.

Before heading to the border with Mozambique, the expedition, which included a few South African journalists, stopped in Nelspruit for the night after visiting two Nissan stores in Pretoria and Mbombela, Nissan Menlyn and Produkta Nissan.

Joined by a team from each country's media, the expedition will continue into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya. The journey will culminate in Egypt.

An expedition support vehicle, a Nissan X-Trail, will follow the Navaras throughout Africa. This will offer the X-Trail a chance to show off its adventure skills on some of the continent's routes.

"This trip will show our customers and fans exactly that in real-life, real-time situations as we celebrate the best that Africa has to offer," Stefan Haasbroek, head of marketing for Nissan Africa, said.

"The Navara is a wonderful evolution of the Nissan pickup legacy."

The car has not only been "tropicalised" for the African market, but it has been purpose-built for it, with a strengthened chassis, a new suspension, and the industry's finest roll-over angle. He clarifies that the construction consists of a greater number of components.

Eldessouky claimed that the African market is crucial for Nissan. Nissan, with its low vehicle ownership rate and unique production presence in Egypt and South Africa, is well-positioned to cater to the continent, widely regarded as the last remaining automotive frontier in the world.

The company offers a comprehensive variety of mobility options.

“This continent has promise, and we trust in Africa," Eldessouky added.

"This expedition truly exemplifies our region's mantra, 'Let's Build,' as well as the opportunity that the AfCFTA (African Continental Trade Area) presents to everyone."

Lucas Taruvinga, a representative from Nissan Zimbabwe, the CEO of Amtec Motors, members of the local media, and other dignitaries welcomed the convoy of the Nissan Daring Africa 2024 expedition team in the picturesque Eastern Highlands, a mountainous area in Zimbabwe.

The eight-country African expedition is well underway for the team in their fleet of four Nissan Navaras and one X-Trail support vehicle.

After entering Zimbabwe, the expedition gathered in Mutare. From there, they went on an off-road trip to see the stunning Mutarazi Falls and the surrounding region with a few members of the local media and Nissan staff. Afterwards, they headed back to Harare.

Nissan's activities in Zimbabwe are some of a kind in Africa. As Taruvinga stated, the fact that Clover Leaf, Croco, Amtec, and AMC are all certified Nissan sales companies in the country gives us a leg up in the competition.

Linda Mazimhaka, Nissan's regional general manager in Africa, said the company's activities in Zimbabwe are critical to Nissan Africa. One of Nissan's LCV lineups that stands out is the Navara.

“Through this excursion, we are connecting our two production centres in Rosslyn, South Africa, and Cairo, Egypt, and demonstrating the vehicle's strength," he said.

Mazimhaka described the Navara as "built for Africa, in Africa, by Africans."

It has already proven its mettle by navigating the challenging terrain of Mozambique and Zimbabwe's beautiful Eastern Highlands.

Taruvinga expressed the joy and privilege of hosting this Daring Africa 2024 leg on behalf of the four certified Nissan sales companies in Zimbabwe.

This excursion is a celebration of the almost 60 years that Nissan has spent in Zimbabwe during its 90-year existence.

“We are delighted to welcome the newest members of the LCV family to our nation, where we inaugurated our first showroom in 1967. What we have known all along about this remarkable vehicle is being proven to everyone on this voyage, and the Navara is adding a new chapter to that tale," Taruvinga remarked.

The convoy left Zimbabwe on a daring journey that saw it snake past Kariba and into Zambia, on its way to Malawi and Tanzania.

"This expedition is proof of Nissan’s continued commitment to the continent," Maciej Klenkiewicz, managing director of Independent Markets Africa and Nissan South Africa, said.

“Our dedication to being the only automotive manufacturer with fully owned manufacturing plants in Egypt and South Africa, as well as an extensive dealer network across the continent, demonstrates our commitment. We take great pride in acknowledging and celebrating our dealers and partners as we progress.

"More than that, we are planning to ship the Navara to Egypt later this year. That is where the Nissan Daring Africa expedition is supposed to finish its journey, which starts in South Africa," he added.

Go on, Nissan! Conquer Africa!


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