Nissan to launch Micra by summer 2010

Japanese auto major Nissan, which is setting up a Rs. 45 billion (US$ 900 million) car-manufacturing facility with Renault in Chennai, said that the project is on schedule and that its first car would roll out before summer 2010.

“There is no delay, our plans are on track and Nissan India will come out with its next-generation A-segment car- Micra, on schedule before summer 2010,” Nissan Motor India’s Managing Director and CEO Kiminobu Tokuyama said.

The 50:50 joint venture between Nissan and Renault at Oragadam near Chennai, will have a capacity to manufacture 400,000 cars annually and Nissan will initially produce 200,000 cars, which it then proposes to scale-up to manufacture up to 300,000 cars in about four years time.

The Micra hatchback car is named March in Japan and the Indian version would be christened either Micra or March, he said. As of now the joint venture stands, though Renault, which was to originally roll out its models by mid-2010, has not yet indicated when it would now launch its vehicles from the facility.

“As of now, we only know that their launch has been postponed,” Tokuyama said. Tokuyama said Nissan proposes to manufacture 4-5 models from its stable in the next 4-5 years. The Micra would be available in both petrol and diesel engines, he said, adding that nearly two-third of its production would be exported.

The Ennore port in north Chennai would have a dedicated jetty for exports of Nissan cars and the company hopes to export 200,000-250,000 cars annually in 3-4 years and sell 90,000-100,000 units in the domestic market.

Tokuyama made it clear that Nissan has no plans to manufacture a small car to take on the Tata’s Nano at this facility, but Nissan-Renault would be collaborating with Bajaj Auto to manufacture a small car in the country.

He also said that Nissan’s plan to manufacture light commercial vehicles with Ashok Leyland was on but its launch has been delayed because of the prevailing economic environment. This would be at a different facility, which was coming up in Chennai, and the proposal is that Nissan India would market the vehicles, he said.

Source: Economic Times