Nissan Motor Co yesterday confirmed it will build a new 11-billion-baht factory in Thailand in a move aimed at sustaining its growth across Southeast Asia.
The Japanese carmaker is expanding its production footprint all over the world and considers Thailand an important strategic manufacturing base for Nissan globally.
Executive vice-president Hiroto Saikawa said the new plant will create up to 2,000 jobs and be a platform for the growth of Nissan's operations in both Thailand and the Asean region.
This is also Nissan's strong industrial strategy and a key factor in achieving a target of 15% market share in Thailand by 2016 as outlined in Nissan Power Up 88, its medium-term business plan.
By 2016, annual Asean sales and production will increase to 500,000 and 700,000 vehicles, respectively.
Nissan's existing plant on Bang Na-Trat Road in Samut Prakan province produces and exports pickup trucks and passenger cars to 97 countries.
Mr Saikawa said the new plant will have initial annual production of 75,000 vehicles when it starts operating in August 2014, doubling to 150,000 within a few years.
The new factory will focus on the production of pickup trucks, which are no longer built at Nissan's existing factory after production was relocated to Mitsubishi Motors' plant in Laem Chabang in Chon Buri.
"The investment confirms our commitment to Thailand and supports the Thai government's commitment to investment, jobs, innovation, value and efficiency in the automotive industry," Mr Saikawa said.
The new plant will be built next to the Samut Prakan factory on 150 rai.
Once the second plant is operating at full capacity, Nissan will have annual production capacity of 370,000 vehicles excluding the 60,000 Navara pickup trucks now built at Mitsubishi's factory.
Nissan, established as a local business entity in 1952, was the first Japanese carmaker to operate in Thailand.
Nissan Motor has a 75% stake in the Thai operation, with the remainder held by the Siam Motors Group.
The seven Nissan models in the Thai market are the Teana, Sylphy, Tiida, Almera, March, X-Trail and Navara.
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- Writer: Santan Santivimolnat