Despite a softening market outlook and being saddled with domestic issues, Nissan is looking to expand its business further in Thailand. The automaker is planning to invest 10 billion baht (RM1.37 billion) in a three-year business plan to increase production capacity and develop new vehicles in the Kingdom, the Bangkok Post reports.
Revealing this, Nissan Motor Thailand president Ramesh Narasimhan said that while investment details have yet to be finalised, the plans for expansion are very much on the cards. “For the Thai operation, Nissan will increase its production capacity to launch new future models, including employing new jobs,” he said.
The country is the automaker’s production hub in Southeast Asia. It has two production plants, both located in Samut Prakan province, building passenger cars and pickups. With an annual production capacity of 295,000 vehicles, the factories build Navara, Teana, Terra, Note, Almera, March, Sylphy and X-Trail models for both the domestic market and export.
The new plan follows on the expansion seen earlier in the decade. In November 2012, the automaker announced it would invest 11 billion baht to expand its presence in the country. Of this, nearly 10 billion baht was spent on building a second plant to increase its production capacity. The new facility was launched in July 2014, with an initial production capacity of 75,000 units.
The automaker also built the Nissan Motor Asia Pacific (NMAP) R&D Test Centre in Samut Prakan. Opened in April 2016, the facility is the company’s third overseas testing centre outside Japan and an R&D hub for the ASEAN region.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it had chosen Thailand to build a new manufacturing hub for electric vehicles, the first outside of Japan. Nissan has two investment projects already approved by the country’s Board of Investment (BoI), a 10.96 billion baht (RM1.5 billion) investment to produce hybrid e-Power vehicles and a 470 million baht project (RM64.8 million) to assemble batteries for its e-Power cars.
In related news, Narasimhan said that Nissan plans to export the new Almera to Asia and Oceania starting next year. The second-gen Almera, which made its ASEAN debut in Thailand last week, is powered by a HRA0 1.0 litre three-cylinder DOHC turbo engine offering 100 hp and 152 Nm of torque, which complies with Thailand’s Phase 2 eco car rules.