YOKOHAMA – Nissan Motor Co. said Wednesday it will re-enter the Pakistani market in 2020 with a local version of its low-cost Datsun brand vehicles under a tie-up with a local partner.
Ghandhara Nissan Ltd., a Bibojee Group company, plans to invest some $41 million over the first four years in manufacturing and sales operations that are expected to create more than 1,800 jobs, Nissan said.
Japan’s No. 2 carmaker by volume did not elaborate on the details of its output plans, such as what models are to be built.
“This entrance to the Pakistan automotive market represents a significant step in the ongoing development of local manufacturing infrastructure and economic activity,” Peyman Kargar, a senior vice president at Nissan, said in a release. “This will deliver sustainable benefits for the national economy, customers, partners and Nissan.”
The carmaker resuscitated the Datsun brand in 2014 for inexpensive vehicles to attract young, first-time customers in developing economies where some of the world’s fastest-growing markets are located.
The Yokohama-based company has rolled out the Redi-GO compact hatchback, the GO plus, a family car with an extra back seat and other models in emerging markets like India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
Nissan introduced the brand in Japan in 1932 but phased it out in the early 1980s.
Demand for new vehicles in the Pakistan market has grown to more than 200,000 units per year and is expected to jump 50 percent to 330,000 in 2024 or 2025, Nissan said.
The number of vehicles owned per 1,000 people in Pakistan is currently 20, far smaller than the 100 in China, 600 in Europe and Japan and 800 in the United States.
The Pakistani market is currently dominated by three Japanese carmakers — Suzuki Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. — which together hold a stake of more than 90 percent, according to the carmaker.
“Pakistan is a growing market … there is an opportunity for us and we are very happy and excited,” Kargar said in an interview.
Nissan first entered Pakistan in 1983, selling models including the Sunny and Cefiro sedans, and the Patrol and X-Trail sport utility vehicles, all of which had been imported from Japan.
The carmaker was manufacturing the Sunny in Pakistan at one point, but halted production and sales of all models by 2010.
The remaining manufacturing facilities will be upgraded and used to produce Datsun, Nissan said.