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India, Thailand whet Nissan’s drive for more

Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Export push: Nissan Micra cars at the Ennore Port for export to various European countries (file photo). — Bijoy Ghosh   -  Business Line

Most of the new production capacity added globally by Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor is expected to be in countries like India and Thailand.

This is part of a strategy to significantly boost car exports from such cost-efficient operations.

Mr Kiminobu Tokuyama, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor India, told Business Line that an appreciating yen is driving a lot of manufacturing out of Japan, while the company's other plants in the US and Europe are also running at maximum levels.

“Globally, most of our plants are now running at optimum capacity. It doesn't make business sense to add more manufacturing capacity in Japan or to export from there. So, most of the new capacity added will be in emerging economies such as India and Thailand. We are also building a new plant in Brazil,” he said.

Nissan, which in a year and half is already the second-largest car exporter from India (after Hyundai), has sent most of its local production (over 1.25 lakh of 1.6 lakh production in 18 months) to over 100 overseas markets — the largest being Europe. Apart from Micra and Sunny exports, it also sends components to its overseas plants in Thailand, Japan and the UK.

‘For the masses'

The carmaker is adding a second production line at its Chennai plant with French partner Renault. This will take the shared annual capacity up to 4 lakh units a year and the total investment to Rs 2,800 crore. It expects even this capacity to be filled soon, after which a new plant or expansion may be on the anvil.

“India is very important for Nissan's global strategy and we expect demand to grow rapidly. The sales growth will be flat this year, but don't doubt that the future will see huge growth. We have an aggressive plan and have no intention to be a niche player — we will have a range for the masses,” Mr Tokuyama said, while referring to Nissan's mid-term growth plan which looks at an 8 per cent global market share by 2016.

After the Micra and Sunny (both sold 28,500 units in 18 months), the next car to be manufactured locally in 2012 will be a 7-8 seater multi-purpose vehicle (NV200 code). Nissan is also studying the “potential of launching the Leaf (full-electric vehicle)” in India.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 16, 2011

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