Thursday, June 4, 2009

India investment plans on track, says Nissan

Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Co Thursday said its partner Renault's decision to suspend investments in the joint venture's upcoming manufacturing facility near here would not affect the project's completion.

French car maker Renault and Nissan have set up a 50:50 joint venture, Renault Nissan Automotive India, to set up a 400,000-car-per-annum plant at Oragadam, 55 km from here, at an investment of Rs.4,500 crore.

"Renault has suspended its investments in India for the time being. It will come back with its investments once the global car market improves. We haven't given back their money invested in the project," Colin Dodge, chief recovery officer of Nissan, told reporters here.

Without Renault's investments, Nissan is now planning to roll out around 200,000 units, half the original target, from May 2010.

"Out of the 350 billion yen ($3.6 billion) that Nissan has decided to invest globally this year, a major share will be in India. We are hoping to achieve a market share of six percent in the country," Dodge added.

According to him, all leading car makers including Nissan have redrawn investment plans after the recession hit the world economy.

"Last year the global car sales were 68 million units and the target for the current year is 54 million units. This has made companies to relook into their investment plans," Dodge said.

Apart from its other models like Teana, X-Trail, 370Z, the Oragadam plant will make a new global car that would replace Nissan's existing Micra/March model.

He added that discussions were on with commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland to roll out light commercial vehicles (LCV) from the plant.

Both companies have signed a joint venture to make LCVs in India to be badged as Nissan and Ashok Leyland.

Asked about Nissan's three-way partnership with Renault and Bajaj Auto to manufacture a low-cost car, Dodge said the project was "put on hold for the time being".

Speaking about Nissan's global plans, he said the auto major would launch eight new global models and 14 regional models.

Dodge added that the company was working on "mass market electric vehicle as the world will move towards zero emission cars. Hybrid models will be there for sometime".

Kiminobu Tokuyama, president and chief executive of Nissan Motor India, said the company was planning to export 110,000 units from 2011 and increase that to 180,000 later.

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