Chennai: Nissan Motors has announced that the Ashok Leyland – Nissan joint light commercial vehicle (LCV) project has seen the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government for the acquisition of 380 acres land to house the facilities of the joint venture companies at Pillaipakkam, 40 kilometres from Chennai.
The integrated plant will be used to set up vehicle and powertrain manufacturing facilities, along with a technology development unit for the three companies of the joint venture, which was formed in May 2008. In a statement Nissan said that the working of these companies has already been initiated, and that the joint venture is on course to roll out the first vehicle by 2010-2011.
Nissan expects exports to account for around 20 per cent of the first phase capacity of 100,000 LCVs.
Andy Palmer, corporate vice president of Nissan Motor Company Ltd., who looks after the light commercial vehicle business unit said, ''We are now in the ready to start real world operations in India. With the acquisition of the land in Tamil Nadu, we can now start the construction of the two manufacturing sites for vehicles and engines and we look forward to co-operating with our partner, Ashok Leyland, for a frugal yet high quality vehicle production.''
Joint venture partners Nissan and Ashok Leyland also announced the top management structure of the three joint ventures, reflecting shared responsibilities and control while drawing from respective domain strengths in critical functions of product development, quality, manufacturing and procurement.
Combined investments will be over Rs40 billion
R Seshasayee, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland said, ''The joint venture with Nissan is a major step in our plans to be a full range player and we are confident that we can meet our production targets by leveraging the combined expertise, market insights and experience of the two partners. The combined investments we have planned in our JV with Nissan and for our own medium and heavy duty vehicle production reflect our commitment to the state of Tamil Nadu where we plan our next cycle of growth.''
Ashok Leyland has announced its expansion plans with respect to their medium duty vehicles (MDV) capacity under the MOU with the Tamil Nadu government. The company has committed further investments at Ennore, Hosur and new locations including a greenfield site near Chennai.
These investments will create integrated facilities for engines, gear boxes, press shops, chassis and parts. Combined investments for both projects (LCV and MDV) are pegged to be over Rs40 billion, and together these new facilities would create around 4,000 new jobs in these companies.
Investments are scheduled to be completed in 7 – 8 years, and operations will witness a 21-year concession in terms of VAT refund.
V Sumantran, executive vice-chairman, Hinduja Automotive Ltd. and chairman of Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd said, ''Taking into account the secular growth trends of the Indian economy and export opportunities; the joint venture will help both parent companies address the future market. The products likewise anticipate future growth of expectations and will offer customers new levels of performance and experience.''