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Nissan celebrates strength in diversity during SA’s Heritage Month


Nissan celebrated the power of diversity in creating a legacy brand, during this year’s Heritage Month in South Africa.

“We have a global history spanning almost 85 years and our South African ties were rooted over half a century ago,” said Nissan Group of Africa managing director Mike Whitfield. “The key to this rich heritage has undoubtedly been the diversity of our people and products.”

Diversity across a range of markers including gender, culture, age and experience is attributed to the success of the Japanese brand — underpinned by a focus on optimising product development and delivering highly innovative technology.

A hallmark is Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s vision for zero emissions and zero fatalities through electric vehicle and autonomous drive mobility.

Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, whose leadership has prioritised diversity, says: “If you can build a company with different cultures working together, you’re going to get the best out of every culture — and deliver the best results for your company.”

This is even more crucial, he adds, because of Nissan’s global footprint. “It is important to have a workforce that reflects our diverse customers all over the world.”

Giving credence to the global philosophy that ‘through diversity, Nissan is stronger and more competitive’ are the company’s business growth and brand ranking results.

  • Global sales and production rose to record levels of 5.6 million units in the last financial year, due mainly to the popularity of crossovers such as the Qashqai and the success of models offering autonomous drive and connected car technologies.
  • And in Interbrand’s 2017 report of Best Global Brands, Nissan jumped four places to 39th position with a brand value of $11.5 billion (R156.2 billion).

At local level, diverse Nissan South Africa teams — including regional award winners from manufacturing and marketing & sales — play an important role in the strength of the global company which manufactures in 20 countries and has a presence in 160.

  • During August, when general new vehicle sales slumped, Nissan SA — with fourth largest market share in South Africa — delivered strong results achieving its best sales and market share in 10 years. This complemented by strong and diverse locally-produced and imported products which appeal to a diversity of customers.
  • Production of the popular NP200 and NP300 pickups for the domestic and other markets in Sub Saharan Africa has contributed, along with previous model production, to the global company reaching in September a milestone of 150 million production units since 1933.

Nissan Group of Africa’s diversity is growing as the company expands its footprint in over 40 markets in Sub Saharan Africa.

States Whitfield: “It’s important that we connect with employees and customers — with diverse cultures, languages and product needs — leveraging our strengths and diversity to grow and sustain our business in Africa.”

Nissan Group of Africa is already making a mark. Brand Africa’s 2016/2017 report showed that Nissan moved four places to 13th position as most valuable brand in Africa.

“I am confident that our rich heritage — built and sustained on a foundation of diversity — is the fuel that will drive the performance of both our global company and that of Nissan Group of Africa into the next century and beyond,” concludes Whitfield.

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