Nissan intends to double the number of engineers at its Chennai R&D centre to about 4,000, and produce its first "made-in-India" car in the next five to six years.
Takayuki Ishida, managing director and CEO of Nissan Motor India (NMIPL), told PTI, "Our plan is to enhance the capability of our R&D centre. Once we will have complete testing facilities, we will have the potential to develop the platform and will be able to roll out a vehicle indigenously from our R&D centre in Chennai... Engineers will be gradually hired every year depending upon number of platforms we want to develop and synergies with our global research centres. The R&D manpower should be double or more than double in the next five to six years."
The Chennai R&D centre, called Renault-Nissan Technology and Business Centre India (RNTBCI), has 3,600 employees, of which about 2,000 are Nissan people working on various aspects of vehicles.
For the R&D centre, Ishida said, "The priority will obviously be to develop products for the Indian market. The centre will also work for other market in association with our other global research centres... We are still at initial planning stages."
Renault-Nissan also has a manufacturing facility in Chennai, from which Nissan rolls out three models, compact car Micra, sedan Sunny and MUV Evalia. The automaker also sells sedan Teana, SUV X-Trail and sports car 370Z as imported vehicles.
NMIPL is trying to resolve problems related to its association with distribution and service partner Hover Automotive India (HAI) after facing "some unrest" from a section of dealers.
Ishida said, "Dealer unrest at some locations affected us... The distribution affected our sales. Currently we are rectifying these. We know that we are not 100% perfect. In operations, we need to rectify... At this moment, we are trying to utilise our dealers and optimise the output."