2011 Nissan Micra production starts at Indian plant

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

Production of the 2011 Nissan Micra subcompact started on Monday in India. The model will go on sale in India in July and in Europe this November. In a statement, Nissan Motor Co. said that the first Micra hatchback, which Nissan claims is "the benchmark city car in Europe," started rolling out of its factory near the southern city of Chennai.

Indian showrooms will display this car starting May 25, which also marks the day when orders can be taken. Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga describes this car as having been designed with the "discerning consumer needs of India" in mind.

The fourth-generation Micra will be exported to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Production of the Micra had been moved from Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England, to its unit in India.

This manufacturing unit, in which Nissan along with its alliance partner Renault SA is investing 45 billion rupees ($965.7 million) over seven years, can produce 400,000 units annually. This unit will also be used by the partners as a global hub for exports. Competition is fierce in India's small car segment, which is about 70% of the total passenger car market.

The widely regarded leader in this segment is Maruti Suzuki, which produces brands such as the best-selling Alto, Swift and Ritz hatchbacks.

The Nissan Micra was designed using the V-platform with the aim of appealing to a wide-range of customers, ranging from an already developed market or to an emerging one. Though the Micra was designed and later tested in Japan, it was modified to ensure that it is able to meet the varying preferences of students around the world.

As such, in addition to having a pleasing appearance, it was engineered to make handling easier and to ensure a good performance while fuel efficiency is maintained. One impressive feature is that not only is it built from scratch but more than 85% of the parts used are obtained from a total of 96 local vendors, 50% of which are in Chennai.

The plant continues to operate in accordance with quality standards and even that of Alliance global manufacturing processes. The production management system used is founded on the sharing of knowledge and the best practices of Nissan and Renault, a first for these two companies.

As a result, the plant is able to effortlessly combine to initiate the production of vehicles from these two companies even when on the same line. Nissan is also planning to use the Chennai plant as its hub for worldwide exports.

Production of the Micra is expected by July 2010 with the first shipment targeted to start by September 2010. The company hopes to export its products to more than 100 countries that include those in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

Press Release

Nissan Motor India announces the start of commercial production of Micra

Nissan Motor India today celebrated the start of production of its 'Made-in-India' compact car (hatchback) Nissan Micra from its manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai. Mr. Toshiyuki Shiga, Chief Operating Officer, Nissan Motor Company, cut the ribbon to mark the roll out of the first car off assembly line. Mr. Akira Sakurai, Managing Director & CEO, Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Kiminobu Tokuyama, Managing Director & CEO, Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd. joined the 1900 employees to commemorate the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. 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, Mr. 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 Mr. Abhijeet Pandit, Vice President (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 FY10.

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% of its parts are procured through local vendors (96 in total) and 50% 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.

About Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd.
Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL), a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Limited Japan, was incorporated in 2005 with a vision of 'Enriching People's Lives' through latest Nissan Technology and products. Chennai is a strategic hub for production, R&D and exports for Nissan. In February 2008, Nissan together with its global alliance partner Renault signed a MoU with Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai with an investment of Rs. 450 million over a period of 7 years. On March 17, 2010, the Renault-Nissan alliance plant was inaugurated in a record time of 21 months since its groundbreaking ceremony in June 2008. The Plant has an initial capacity of 2,00,000 units per year and will reach 4,00,000 units per year in full capacity in the future.

NMIPL existing range of products include the X-Trail (SUV model), the Teana (luxury Sedan) and 370Z (iconic sports car) - all three imported from Japan as CBU (completely built units). In July 2010, Nissan will commence sales of its first locally made global compact hatchback (Nissan Micra). NMIPL will also commence exports in second half of the fiscal year 2010 to more than 100 countries including Europe, Middle East and Africa.

In line with its global philosophy of corporate sustainability, NMIPL has already begun its commitment to make a meaningful contribution to the community. The plant has already completed constructing 21 residential homes for relocated families from construction site, apart from constructing local Police Station and fire service station in the Oragadam village. At the corporate level, NMIPL has also partnered with 'Habitat for Humanity' for providing shelter to 75 families by constructing homes for the socially and economically less fortunate section of the society.

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