If needed, Nissan still has the capacity to produce between 300,000 and 400,000 more vehicles in Japan to support the bid of chief executive Carlos Ghosn to capture 8 percent of the global auto market in 2017.
According to Trevor Mann, Nissan’s chief performance officer, the spare capacity means that the carmaker will not be constrained as it pushes for its market share goal. "We have more than that in available capacity in Japan," he told Automotive News in an interview.
Nissan is considering a number of options to address the capacity issue, including additional work shifts at existing assembly site, Mann remarked. In 2014, Nissan saw sales of its Rogue compact crossover limited in the United States by a shortage in capacity at its Smyrna site in Tennessee.
Nissan was able to address the shortage by tapping Rogues from South Korea and Japan. According to Mann, reclaiming the unused plant space would be relatively easy task, as it just entails placing new tooling into supplier plants and updating the vehicle factories' body shop robots and jigs.
He added that Nissan also has access to Alliance capacity, referring to available space at sites owned by Renault and its affiliated companies like Samsung. Mann said the carmaker is not worried on whether suppliers will have enough capacity to meet the higher production levels, adding that such concerns two years ago have been resolved.
"It was somewhat of a concern, but they have reacted," he remarked, referring to efforts of its suppliers to expand their own capacity. He also noted that as of current, Nissan has no supply issues with its suppliers. Mann remarked that suppliers took action to prepare for Nissan's growth since they believe that the carmaker is serious about its volume targets.
The volume reflected by the 8-percent share is a moving target, as it depends on global sales performance. Lazard & Co. and Roland Berger Strategy expect global light-vehicle sales to reach 91.2 million by the end of 2016, which means that for Nissan to grab an 8-percent share, it should sell almost 7.3 million vehicles – around 2 million more than it sold in 2014. At the end of 2014, Nissan held 6.2-percent global market share.