Nissan latest automaker to suspend South Africa production amid strike

JOHANNESBURG (Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. joined carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. in halting production in South Africa as a strike by metalworkers cut auto-component supplies.

Nissan has temporarily closed its production plant in Rosslyn, near the capital Pretoria, from July 14 to July 21, the company’s South African unit said in an e-mailed response to questions today. If the strike that began on July 1 continues “into the following week, Nissan South Africa may have to reconsider its production schedule,” it said.

The stoppage by more than 220,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the nation’s largest labor union, has disrupted manufacturing output, threatening an economy still reeling from a five-month strike by platinum mineworkers that ended in June.

“On top of our normal challenges with labor, there are some industries which are affected by strikes every single year, whether directly or indirectly,” Christie Viljoen, an economist at NKC Independent Economists in Paarl, outside Cape Town, said by phone today. The production stoppage sends a very negative message to investors, he said.

“We are hoping for a speedy resolution to the strike as a prolonged strike affects our reputation as a supplier as well as our competitiveness,” Nissan said. The carmaker produces about 225 vehicles a day at its Rosslyn plant.