Nissan has launched its redesigned Sunny - aka Versa, Almera and Latio elsewhere - in Vietnam where it is assembled in a new plant operated by local distributor Tan Chong Motor Group.

The new plant in Da Nang City is the first owned and operated by TCIE Vietnam, a subsidiary of TCM, in the country.

TCIE has spent US$40m on the 129,500 sq m factory. The plant operates under the so-called Nissan Production Way.

Initial production is Sunny only at a rate of 2,000 units for the first year.

"The growth in Vietnam is promising and will play an important role in achieving our mid-term business plan in the region," said Nissan regional vice president Takayuki Kimura.

Due to steady economic growth and a large population, Vietnam is forecast to shift to mass motorisation and more than double its current vehicle volume to 110,000 units by fiscal year 2014.

"Customers in Vietnam are becoming more affluent," added Kimura.

Tan Chong has been the distributor and aftersales provider for Nissan vehicles for over 50 years in Malaysia and Singapore. It is also the Nissan distributor in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with interests in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China and Australia.

Vietnam is a challenging market for automakers who have faced high import duties on car parts for local assembly and also on locally sourced parts as well as additional taxes on finished components and vehicles. Other players include Toyota which assembles the Camry there.