Nissan Motor wants alliances only if cash not involved

November 10th, 2008 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 10 (IANS) Concerned over the continuing uncertainty in the credit market, Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Co has said it will not form new tie-ups with other auto companies for joint ventures that require investments. Explaining his company’s position to IANS here, Colin Dodge, senior vice-president (overseas market operations) of Nissan, said market conditions are unfavourable as a credit crunch continues to shrink the industry’s expansion plans.

“There is uncertainty about the exchange rates and availability of credit,” he said. “The media finds it interesting to write about alliances. There can be new alliances provided there is no cash involvement.”

However, the existing partnerships will continue intact.

On Nissan’s tie-up with Maruti Suzuki India, Dodge said: “We will be sourcing 10,000 cars from Maruti for our overseas market. The cars will be badged as Pixo.” In India, Maruti Suzuki will sell the car under the A Star brand name.

Nissan will also launch hatchbacks and sedans for the Indian car market and light commercial vehicles. The company, which has set up up a joint venture with French car maker Renault, is building a car plant near Chennai.

“We will export cars from our Chennai plant to 128 countries,” Dodge added. Nissan has also formed a joint venture with Bajaj Auto to produce small cars to compete with Tata Motors’ Nano. “The capacity (of the small car plant) will be 250,000 units.

“The cost of manufacture will be similar to that of Tata Nano. I will not be able to tell the customer price now,” Dodge said, adding that the company intends to ship the small cars to Indonesia and other overseas markets where demand is high.

For the light commercial vehicle, it has tied up with the Indian truck maker Ashok Leyland. “All our projects are progressing as planned,” Dodge said.

Additionally, Nissan has developed a battery to power electric cars, which he said will be in “great demand” in future. “The one hindrance is the availability of battery recharging infrastructure. Once that is set up, we will start mass production of such cars. We hope to roll out electric cars by 2010,” Dodge said.

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