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Nissan Motor India on May 24 celebrated the start of production of its “Made-in-India” compact car (hatchback) Nissan Micra from its manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai. Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer, Nissan Motor Company, cut the ribbon to mark the roll out of the first car off assembly line. Akira Sakurai, managing director and CEO, Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt. Ltd., Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and CEO, Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd. joined the 1900 employees to commemorate the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer, Nissan Motor Company said, "The start of commercial production of Nissan Micra is the beginning of a new chapter for us in India. In an exponentially growing and challenging Indian automobile industry, we are introducing a product that has been specifically designed keeping in mind the discerning consumer needs of India. The India made Micra will supply to strategic markets such as Europe, Middle East and Africa and this is only possible due to the high quality skills of Indian team."
Commenting on the momentous occasion, Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and CEO, Nissan Motor India said, "The day that all of us were waiting for has finally arrived and we are delighted with the roll out of the first car. We always had a clear strategy for India and this has been clearly reflected in our investments in the first manufacturing plant for the alliance in Chennai. We are now confident that the Indian customers will like our product offerings beginning with the Nissan Micra, and this is the right product at the right time."
From May 25, 2010, customers will get an opportunity to take a closer look at the Nissan Micra as it will be displayed in all Nissan showrooms in the country. Gauging the unprecedented response received through a number of enquiries since the unveiling of the car, the company has also decided to start the pre-order bookings for the Micra at all these showrooms. Customers can visit these showrooms and book their car against an initial booking amount of INR 50,000/-. The activity will be supported by a comprehensive print, digital, radio and TV campaign shortly. The sales for Nissan Micra will commence in July 2010.
"It is a unique opportunity provided by us to display our cars well before the actual launch. We are overwhelmed by the number of enquiries received and decided upon this initiative to provide our customers the opportunity to touch and feel and book a car of their choice, says Abhijeet Pandit, vice president of operations, Hover Automotive India.
The plant at Oragadam, spread over an area of 640 acres, represents an investment of 45 billion rupees ($990 million) and the capacity to produce 400,000 units per year at full ramp up. Today, the plant employs 1,900 workers and will reach 3000 in two years time. The company, along with its supplier park in Chennai, estimates a total of 6,000 jobs to be created in the region.
The initial production capacity at the plant will be 200,000 units with one line and the company is looking at producing more than 80,000 units in fiscal year 2010.
The new Nissan Micra, built on a new versatile platform - the V-platform, is designed to have broad appeal to customers in both emerging and developed markets. Nissan Micra was designed and tested in Japan and fine-tuned to meet the differing tastes and needs of customers worldwide. The Nissan Micra is a reliable, stylish and eco-friendly car for people who enjoy everyday driving. The compact hatchback, with its affable appearance, is also engineered for easy handling and sprightly performance, while realizing class-leading fuel efficiency.
The other important aspect of the new Nissan Micra is that from the very beginning, more than 85 percent of its parts are procured through local vendors (96 in total) and 50 percent of them are located within Chennai.
The plant operates in full compliance with Alliance global manufacturing processes and quality standards. Its production management system, launched for the first time at any plant of Renault and Nissan, is based on mutual knowledge sharing and the best practices from both companies. The new manufacturing process allows the plant to seamlessly mix production of both Renault and Nissan products on same line.
Nissan is also looking at making the Chennai plant as a global hub for exports. The start of production for the Micra for exports will commence in July 2010 and the first shipment would begin from September 2010. Nissan is looking at exporting to more than 100 countries including Europe, Middle East and Africa.