Motoring

Unpredictable Zim economy hits Nissan sales

TINASHE MAKICHI

The unpredictable policy environment and macro-economic challenges affecting Zimbabwe have greatly depressed Nissan brand sales, Nissan Clover Leaf chief executive Stanford Sibanda said.

Since the beginning of the year, the country has faced a myriad of challenges ranging from a weak exchange rate, rising inflation  among other macro-economic issues which have made doing business in Zimbabwe difficult.

Most local vehicle dealers especially for Nissan have not been spared from those biting challenges and this has hit on their sales margins.

Nissan Clover Leaf, Amtec Motors and Croco Motors are the official dealers for the Nissan brand in the country.  

In an interview with Business Times, Sibanda said the appetite for new vehicles in the market has not been backed by spending power due to the prevailing economic challenges. This has to a greater extent affected sales for the past few years.

“In terms of the industry and how it has been affected by the economy, we have seen a drop in sales in fact over the last few years because the economy has not been performing,” Sibanda said adding that Nissan is still a top brand in Zimbabwe and commands the biggest market share at 30 percent in terms of new vehicle sales.

He said foreign currency shortages have also worsened the situation for dealers as they are struggling to replenish their stock of new vehicles and spare parts.

Sibanda said accessing foreign currency on the interbank market had been a challenge while the prevailing weak exchange rate has made vehicles sold locally more expensive.

Nissan’s success in Zimbabwe is built on the popularity of the NP300 Hardbody, the half-ton NP200 and the one-ton Nissan Navara. The pickups’ sturdiness and reliability have long made them a byword for mobility in Africa. But the Japanese automaker’s X-Trail, Qashqai and Almera more than hold their own and have proven firm favourites in
their own right.

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