Karachi: Ghandhara Nissan Ltd on Wednesday said it was launching production of Datsun model cars in Pakistan with an investment of Rs4.5 billion over the next four years, while sales of the first locally built vehicles were expected to begin within next fiscal year.
Nissan Motor Company Ltd, a Japanese multinational carmaker headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama, has struck a manufacturing and licensing agreement with Ghandhara Nissan Ltd, its automotive partner in Pakistan, for local production of Datsun models.
“This entrance into Pakistan automotive market represents a significant step in the ongoing development of local manufacturing infrastructure and economic activity,” Peyman Kargar, senior vice president Nissan, said speaking at the soft launching ceremony at a local hotel.
“We are confident that, with the close collaboration and support of the Pakistani government, this will deliver sustainable benefits for the national economy, customers, partners and Nissan.”
Nissan joins automaking partner Renault SA, along with Hyundai Motor Co and Volkswagen AG in announcing increased presence in Pakistan after the government in 2016 introduced policies to promote growth in the auto industry, dominated for decades by Japanese automakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd.
With a population of nearly 200 million people and growing, Pakistan is a market with big growth potential, posting annual sales of 200,000 cars in 2017, up 60 percent from 2014. That compared with sales of over 2 million passenger vehicles a year in neighbouring India, which has a population of 1.3 billion.
Kargar said together with Ghandhara, Nissan would be working actively with suppliers to localise and exchange technology and skills. “It would provide a lasting benefit to the emerging local component industry,” he added.
Ahmed Kuli Khan Khattak, CEO Ghandhara Nissan, said this agreement would introduce world-class facilities and the best of Japanese engineering technologies.
“By localising the manufacturing of parts and components and boosting development in the auto supplier industry, it will provide Pakistan with technical assistance and promote partnerships with Japan,” Khattak said.
He said local customers would benefit from more choices and enjoy engaging driving experiences with
vehicles and modern features that are ideally suited to the country.
A company statement said the agreement also covered distribution, providing access to a market where demand for new vehicles had grown to more than 200,000 units a year.
“The move is part of Nissan’s strategy to engage with emerging automotive markets around the world, bringing brands and products tailored to meet rising consumer demand,” the statement said.
“It will also provide a significant boost to the automotive industry, which already accounts for about 4.0 percent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product,” the statement said adding the project and the development of a retail network would create more than 1800 jobs.
Nissan and Ghandhara will work together to develop Ghandhara’s facilities in Karachi’s Port Qasim in to a world-class manufacturing plant.
The partners have a long-standing relationship, bringing a wealth of local knowledge and experience.
The project has qualified for brown-field category status under the government of Pakistan’s Automotive Development Policy.