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Nissan announces new India strategy

By Graeme Roberts | 7 September 2018

Nissan product plans for India include the Kicks line already built and sold in China and South America and more recently launched in North America with vehicles sourced from Mexico

Nissan product plans for India include the Kicks line already built and sold in China and South America and more recently launched in North America with vehicles sourced from Mexico

Nissan has announced a new strategy for India which will see it launch new products, strengthen the Nissan and Datsun brands, expand its dealer network, optimise flexible manufacturing and boost R&D facilities together with Alliance automakers also operating in the country.

For product, the automaker claims it will "bring the best of Nissan's worldwide lineup to India, building on [our] technological leadership in electrification and connected cars".

It will also "build a strong line up for Datsun in India representing the best of Japanese engineering".

It aims to "reinforce Nissan as a premium mainstream brand with wide appeal, building on its SUV heritage and leading performance globally, starting with the Kicks".

Datsun will focus on "progressive mobility, with products offering high value to customers equipped with connected technology".

Nissan plans to double the Indian sales and service network (it calls outlets "touch points") in the next three years, from 270 now.

It will also expand regional marketing and sales operations teams to four key regions across the continent.

It will further develop its design centre in Chennai "to ensure cars meet the rapidly changing expectations of Indian customers".

The automakers digitalisation strategy will see it recruit 500 workers this fiscal year at its first global digital hub in Kerala, with further expansion plans.

The hub will "focus on innovations in mobility to enhance Nissan's products worldwide and in India".

"[We are] committed to India and have built the foundations to succeed," said Peyman Kargar, a Nissan Motor senior vice president and chairman of the Africa, Middle East and India (AMI) region.

"Our strategy will strengthen both our brands for our customers across India. The Nissan brand will bring the best of global products and technology to our customers, starting with the Kicks. For Datsun, we aim to offer compelling products across segments offering value, connectivity and Japanese engineering."

Since 2010, the Nissan-Renault Alliance has spent INR61bn (US$849m) in India and will continue to focus on the emerging market to further develop engineering, R&D and manufacturing operations.

It claims to be India's largest automotive research and development employer through its Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre for India (RNTBCI) in Chennai.

The vehicle making plant in Chennai is a global manufacturing hub exporting to 106 countries.

Continued commitment to India market will be governed by a three-part plan focused on people, processes and product innovation.

Workers will have the chance of transfers and advancement between manufacturing, R&D and other operations.

Plant workers will be trained to prepare for the increased demands of manufacturing next-generation cars; 10% of the workforce in the first year.

Flexibility of manufacturing will be achieved with worker mobility between Alliance organisations, recruitment of people with future technology skills and, in areas where there is "a surplus of skills today", offering a voluntary option of financial support for plant employees who wish to leave the automaker.

Complexity will be reduced through greater use of common platforms as part of the Alliance 2022 goal for 9m cars per year globally to be based on four common platforms by 2022 and plant utilisation will be improved for greater efficiency.

The company will hire 1,000 more engineers at RNTBCI "to further enhance the Alliance's number one position in R&D in India".

"In the coming years, we will grow and our workforce will shift towards highly skilled jobs to lead the technological changes coming to the auto industry in India," added Kargar.

"Our aim is to ensure our operations are best in class, and that India becomes an even more significant global hub for Nissan and the Alliance in manufacturing, engineering and research and development. Our strategy is to invest in talent and people."