Nissan is the second largest exporter of cars from India, the first being Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HM1L), which began exporting cars in 1999. Since Inception, HMiL has been the leading exporter of pas­senger cars, followed by Nissan and Maruti Suzuki. Nissan’s Micra tops the list of cars most exported from here. “India is a key market for us,” says Guillaume Slcard, president, operations, Nissan India, comment­ing on his company’s new achieve­ment. “Our major manufacturing and ttfitd operations have helped us become one of India’s biggest export­ers of cars. Our global exports con­sist of Micra, Sunny and Datsun Go. The Datsun brand has just begun moving to South Africa and Nepal in small numbers”.The company also exports to key markets like Latin America, Austra­lia and New Zealand. “Our strategy at Nissan, in the beginning, was to make sure that we can generate econ­omies of scale, through exports,” Sicard adds. “Nissan has invested in India to build the brand but this will take us 10-15 years. While exports are a top priority, we want to grad­ually increase our presence in the domestic markets too”.Nissan Motor India Private Ltd (NM1PL), a 100 percent subsid­iary of Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Japan, recently celebrated the ship­ment of the 500,000th car from its manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai. In a record period of five years, Nissan has achieved this landmark by exporting cars to over 106 countries.

Scope for expansion.Since the competition involved vying against established car manufactur­ers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai India, Nissan could not get the num­bers it wanted Immediately in terms of sales. So, the company decided to export, to maintain a balance In its position in the Indian operations. So far, this export strategy has paid off well for the company’s Investment in India. Among Nissan’s various mod­els, Sunny contributes 20 per cent of exports (mainly to the Middle East), while Micra accounts for a major share (70 per cent, mainly to Europe, its biggest market) too. The remain­ing 10 per cent is filled by the sales to the rest of the world.

Currently, Nissan’s capacity util­isation is 65 per cent and there b scope for further expansion. The year 2014 was good for the com­pany, with its domestic sales record­ing a 24 per cent growth and export* touching 120,000 cars.

Nissan has also been exporting over 1,800 types of manufactured auto parts to 34 plants across 24 countries. And India has been play­ing a major role as a second sourc­ing country for Nissan’s plants worldwide.

“Nissan has entered into a stra­tegic understanding with Kamara- jar Port (formerly Ennore Port) and has been the first car maker to use the port as a gateway since 2010,” says M.A. Bhaskarachar, chair­man & managing director, Kama- rajar Port, talking about the export facilities the port has been offering to automotive manufacturers. “We are working on a number of facili­ties for exporters, such as stockyards and another container terminal that will be ready by the end of this year, which will help the car industry In a big way. There are a number of other car manufacturers approaching us to use our port for exports too. And we are well equipped to provide the necessary support. This effort will be beneficial for all of us, and will, in turn, improve the country’s growth too.”

Nissan is keen to develop the Datsun brand in India. The com­pany has had 23,000 customers for the model since its launch. The big­gest challenge faced by the company in this respect is the lack of brand awareness. Nissan is also focussing on how to reach out to the custom­ers by expanding its dealership net­work, It plans to lnctease the dealers’ tally to 200 and then take it further to 300 by following year.

Though Nissan Is doing well In exports, it still believes that It also has enough potential to Influ­ence the domestic market with its products. The company is making all efforts to Increase Its market share In India.

♦ J.M. BOOtMtM todbiitkttkijltlMtHtUajMUp.

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