Tokyo: Nissan Motor Co., hit hard by falling auto sales, plans to transfer production of its key subcompact car from Japan to lower-costing Thailand, a report said today.
Japan’s third-largest automaker is redesigning its popular March supermini car jointly with its French partner Renault SA, hoping to appeal to customers looking for fuel-efficient cars.
The Nikkei business daily said Nissan has decided to shift all Japanese production of the car to Thailand in 2010 and then export it back to Japan.
It expects to cut production costs by 30% by procuring local parts and will also benefit from Thailand’s tax breaks for eco-friendly cars, the Nikkei reported without identifying its sources.
The report follows Nissan’s decision to shift production of the Micra, the March’s overseas version, from Britain to India when the new edition comes out in 2010.
A Nissan spokeswoman declined to confirm the shift from Japan to Thailand.
“The shift in production of Micra from Britain and India has already been announced, but regarding the rest of the report, we have not made any announcement,” said spokeswoman Ikue Matsuura.
Nissan said Thursday it was slashing production in the current financial year by 21 %.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday that Nissan is set to log its first operating loss this year since Renault sent Carlos Ghosn to rescue the Japanese company from the brink of bankruptcy in 1999.
The global slowdown has badly shaken Japan’s automakers, which in recent years had cashed in on brisk demand for their smaller and more fuel-efficient cars.
Last month Toyota Motor Corp. predicted its first ever annual operating loss.