Nissan has announced the launch of a second shift at its manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, reflecting the positive growth outlook for the country’s car market.
The AEB has reported an uptick in the Russian market lately, albeit an uptick from a depleted level.
Nissan says that recruitment of 450 new employees and a forecasted improvement in the Russian market this year was outlined to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the International Industrial Fair Innoprom.
The Russian President was greeted at the Nissan stand by Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Nissan senior vice-president and chief sustainability officer, Paul Willcox, Nissan Europe chairman, and James Wright, vice president of Nissan Europe East.
The forecasted improvement of the Russian market this year will see the second shift added in St. Petersburg from October, providing opportunities for new recruits, returning employees and promotions for current team members.
In 2017, there have been signs of a revival of the Russian car market, with vehicles sales in Russian showing a positive trend since March. Overall market growth of 9.4% was recorded in March, 6.9% in April, 14.7% in May and in June – 15%. Nissan sales in Russia have followed this trend, increasing in April, May and June by 11%, 7% and 15% respectively.
Paul Willcox, chairman, Nissan Europe, said: “Russia has always been and remains a key strategic market for Nissan. Our goal remains to develop local production, increase the level of parts localisation and expand export projects.
“This year we expect to increase production in St. Petersburg by nearly a quarter, compared to last year, where the Nissan team continue to make a strong contribution to our business.”
Last year the Nissan plant in St. Petersburg celebrated its tenth anniversary and production of the 250,000th vehicle. In 2016, more than 36,458 units rolled off the production line of the plant, an increase of 8% from 2015. This result is due to the launch of production of two significant models, the Nissan Qashqai (November 2015) and new generation Nissan Murano (June 2016). In 2016, a total of 79,066 Nissan vehicles were manufactured in Russia, exporting to the Republic of Kazakstan, the Republic of Belarus, Lebanon (from June 2016, Datsun only) and Azerbaijan (from November 2016).
As a leader in electric vehicles (EVs), Nissan is continuing to study the market conditions and infrastructure development in Russia, with the ambition of introducing the Nissan Leaf to the country.
At the International Industrial Fair Innoprom held from 10-13 July in Yekaterinburg, Nissan demonstrated its new Murano.