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Nissan to roll out cars from may

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Speaking to reporters after inaugurating its dealer showroom here,  Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and chief executive officer, Nissan Motor India Pvt Ltd, said trial production at the facility was successful and the plant would go on stream as planned from May 2010.

Initially, it will have a capacity to produce 200,000 units a year, which the company is planning to double after seven years both for domestic and export markets.

The Oragadam facility is being set up by Nissan along with its joint venture partner Renault with an investment of Rs 4,500 crore spread over seven years.

“Whatever investment we have committed is going according to schedule. Renault is also taking part in the investment. It has temporarily suspended the production, not the investment,” said Akira Sakurai, managing director, Renault Nissan Automotive India (P) Ltd.

So far, the company has recruited around Rs 1,000 people and would add another 500 when the production begins, said Sakurai. The compact car is likely to hit the Indian roads by July 2010.

Grahame Cornforth, senior vice president and director, Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre India Pvt Ltd (RNTBCI), said the company would make India its hub for research and development too.

The automobile engineering design and research company RNTBCI at Chennai will soon shift the fuel cell research team from near Chennai to IIT Madras Research Park in the city, said Cornforth. Till date, about Rs 65 crore has been invested in the R&D effort in India, he added.

The R&D centre currently has 1,200 staff and the company plans to add another 300. The centre will work on developing new platforms for cars as well as derivatives of the existing ones.

On the JV with Ashok Leyland to produce light commercial vehicles, Sakurai said, “We are currently discussing the products, which are likely to be produced in India. The first rollout is planned by 2011.”