Nissan and Renault are planning to increase the potential of their jointly ventured manufacturing unit based in the India by almost one-third before the end of 2013. Industry experts are of a view that this move is a part of their strategy to set up the South Asian country as global manufacturing hub, which will help it to tap the increasing local demand. The joint ventured plant of both the auto makers is based at the outskirts of Chennai's Southern Port City, whose production potential will be increased in two phases from current 360,000 units to to 480,000 vehicles. This information has been sourced from the Chief Executive and Managing Director of Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Limited, Toshihiko Sano.
On this move, Sano was quoted as saying, “The expansion of the first line will be completed in May and the second line will be completed in August. From September, we will reach the full annual capacity of 480,000 vehicles.”
It must be noted that the expansion plan by both the companies has been executed at the time when the Japanese auto maker is mulling towards the launch of its first model under the Datsun brand. Reportedly, Datsun is expected witness the Indian daylight at New Delhi Auto Expo, which is scheduled to happen in February 2014. Interestingly, Nissan has restored its Datsun brand after almost 3 decades and is now all set to offer its low budget models in most of the emerging markets of the world. The Chennai unit of both the companies happens to be the first joint venture plant for both the auto makers. From this plant, the French auto maker exports its Duster Sports Utility Vehicle, whereas the Japanese car maker produces its Micra hatchback and Sunny midsize sedan for export purpose.
Reportedly, during the last fiscal, Nissan Motor Company shipped 98,971 units from India through its Chennai unit, whereas Renault exported 650 units of Duster. The shipments for both the auto makers stood at almost half the capacity of unit's overall production potential of 220,000 units during the last year. The company official later said that the manufacturing unit is anticipated to roll out around 340,000 units, comprising around 120,000 units for export in this fiscal.
At present, the Chennai plant of Renault-Nissan employs around 6,000 workers, including 1600 (approximately) temporary workers. However, the companies have not disclosed the additional number of workers, which will be required after the expansion of production capacity. Industry experts are of a view that the increase in potential of the production unit, despite the current slowdown, is a clear indicator that the market will soon start to grow again.