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Slow Progress on EVs Is Bad Omen for South Africa’s Auto Market

  • Country needs policies, incentives, Nissan’s Africa head says
  • Potential of African market may replace lost Europe exports
Workers on the assembly line at the Nissan Motor Co. Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, South Africa.

Workers on the assembly line at the Nissan Motor Co. Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, South Africa.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa risks losing the bulk of its automotive exports unless the government implements policies to create an electric-vehicle manufacturing industry, according to Nissan Motor Co.’s Africa head. 

Europe is the destination for about two-thirds of car exports from South Africa, which earned 202 billion rand ($14 billion) from sending vehicles and components internationally in 2019. But with countries such as Germany moving toward mandating the use of cleaner cars, South Africa risks being left behind, Mike Whitfield, Nissan Africa’s managing director, said in an interview.