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Nissan revs up Asean engine

The plan aims to more than triple automobile sales to 500,000 units with a 15% market share in Asean by March 2017, up from 150,000 units and 6% market share in 2010.

Nissan’s regional automobile production capacity will be doubled to 700,000 units per year over the period to serve growing demand in the regional market.

A low-cost green car project initiated by the Indonesian government is one of the strategies to boost sales and increase the production capacity in the region.

Nissan Motor Thailand president Toru Hasegawa said the green car is different than its eco-car in Thailand, but did not elaborate on details. The green car is in preparatory stages as the Indonesian government has not yet officially announced the investment promotion.

Another key strategy is offering over 10% more models during the next six years, as well as collaboration with governments to gain competitive advantages, said Mr Hasegawa.

Targeted markets for the plan include Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Nissan kicked off the regional plan to support the global direction of Nissan Power 88, the corporate mid-term plan announced recently at its headquarters in Japan that aims to achieve 8% global market share and 8% sustainable operating profit by the end of 2016.

As car demand in emerging markets rises rapidly, we expect it will soon comprise more than half of global sales volume, said Mr Hasegawa.

Nissan Motor Asia Pacific Co (NMAP) was established in Thailand as Nissan’s strategic regional headquarters in place of the previous one in Singapore.

The new facilities, which are scheduled to start operations early this month, plan to focus on Thailand and Indochina.

NMAP became the first company in the industry to use the government’s new international procurement centre scheme to enjoy lower corporate income tax – halved to 15% – and other non-tax privileges from the Board of Investment.

Mr Hasegawa said Nissan will accelerate expanding the Nissan Technical Southeast Asia Centres in Thailand and Indonesia by tripling the number of engineering staff to 370 in 2016 from 120 currently.

Jatco, a Nissan-affiliated company, will invest 20 billion Japanese yen (7.1 billion baht) to produce continuously-variable transmission (CVT) units in Thailand. The CVT is part of the powertrain system and Nissan will become the first automaker in Thailand to produce CVTs.

The new CVT plant is to be built at Amata Nakhon in Chon Buri and will produce 500,000 units per year, mostly slated for domestic demand. Production is scheduled to start in mid-2013.

In 2011 Nissan sales in Thailand are projected to top 80,000 units with a 9% market share. Nissan had sales of 65,000 units for a 7.4% market share in 2010.

Its dealer network will be expanded with 50 new outlets by 2013, lifting the total to 210.

Mr Hasegawa said Nissan will introduce the first four-door eco-sedan in October. Nissan launched the first eco-car, a March hatchback in March 2010, and sold 27,000 units domestically and 20,000 units overseas last year.

Source: Bangkok Post

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