In order to be able to roll out a ‘made in India’ car from Nissan a manufacturing plant in India, the Japanese automaker has decided to enhance its research and developmental capabilities at the Chennai plant by increasing strength of its workforce to 4,000.
This R&D centre in Chennai is a joint venture between Nissan and its French counterpart Renault. Currently there are over 3,600 individuals working at this facility in key areas like computer aided engineering, product development and advanced research and development. Once initial hassles are ironed out, the company will be able to divert its R&D program to achieve its goal of a ‘made in India’ car within the next 5-6 years. The Renault-Nissan manufacturing plant in Chennai manufactures three vehicles from this plant like the Micra, Sunny and Evalia.
Units like the Teana, X-Trail and 370Z are sold in India as CBU’s. Nissan faced a decline in sales for Jan 2013 by 23%. They aim to strengthen their dealer network and launch automatic variants of Sunny and Micra in 2013.
Takayuki Ishida, CEO and MD, Nissan India, 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 5-6 years. 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.”