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Nissan to design cars in India for world market

HT Business:  October 07, 2016

New Delhi: India is set to become the “most important” country for Nissan in the Africa, Middle East and sub-continent region with Chennai at the centre.

The city will be the hot-bed for design and development of technology and cars for the Japanese automaker as it draws up plans to develop eight cars in India – most of which do not exist in the company’s portfolio.

“India is ready… we have excellent engineers, a strong supply base which is required to develop cars, and it is cost efficient… We decided to develop cars out of India five years ago,” Christian Mardrus, chairman of Africa, Middle East and India region at Nissan Motor Corporation told HT. The region accounts for 14.5% of Nissan’s global sales.

This will also be the first time a Nissan product will be developed locally keeping in mind the domestic market and will export them too. So far cars, including Micra and Sunny, were designed and developed in Japan and localised for India.

Nissan did not disclose the exact body-types, but gave indications. “Part of that will be SUV and crossover oriented. These products do not exist in India,” said Guillaume Sicard, president of Nissan India Operations.

In the past Renault’s chairman Carlos Ghosn has praised India’s methods of “jugaad” in manufacturing to develop low-cost cars. “I always admire what you call Jugaad… (We) want to make it a weapon in the global market,” he said in 2012. The Chennai plant is the first plant of the NissanRenault alliance. For Datsun, Sicard said that future products will be “fully adaptive to emerging markets”.

The first made-in-India car was the Datsun RediGo.

“We have proven with RediGo and Kwid that we can develop cars and not only modules and parts,” said Mardrus.

Nissan is also setting up a design team, which only exists in the US, Japan, UK and France.

At present, Nissan has a 6,000 engineers in Chennai working on the new cars, the first of which may roll out around March 2018.

”The engineering centre will focus on new technologies … especially in the space of intelligent mobility, connectivity, autonomous driving. Chennai will be key in all these,” Mardrus said.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.