DEMAND for vehicles in the local market has softened owing to biting foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe, but the country still outperforms the region, a top company official said.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a debilitating economic crisis characterised by prolonged power outages, galloping inflation and widespread company closures.
Nissan’s regional general manager for central and southern African region, sub-Saharan Africa sales and operations, Linda Mazimhaka, told businessdigest during his visit to Zimbabwe last week that the forex deficit poses a major challenge for the vehicle manufacturer.
“The major challenge is that you purchase vehicles in forex and it is not easy to get it in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“It is my first time here and I am quite impressed. I know there are difficulties in Zimbabwe and for them to manage to do what they are doing given the position you are in shows a lot of dedication and perseverance.”
Mazimhaka, however, said he believes that the current problems the country is facing are temporary and the economy will be revived.
He said that Nissan, like other brands, is also facing the challenges posed by the influx of second-hand cars into the country, adding that the reputation of the Nissan brand would help counter this.
Mazimhaka said the Zimbabwe market was one of the top performers in the region despite the economic headwinds the country faces.
Mazimhaka said the launch of the Datsun brand, mainly for the mid to lower end of the market, is expected to take the local market by storm, riding on its global appeal.
He said the launch of environmentally friendly vehicles is the future of Nissan.
Nissan is a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. The company sells its cars under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands with in-house performance tuning products labelled Nismo. — Staff Writer.