Renault-Nissan's new Chennai plant to open in early 2010

Carlos Ghosn, Renault- Nissan chief, yesterday said at the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit. that the company's new Chennai factory should be open by the first quarter of next year. The auto major also plans to develop the facility as a global manufacturing base.

Ghosn, who is chairman and CEO, Renault France and president and CEO, Nissan Japan said the Chennai plant would be operational as scheduled. He added that the second phase has been suspended not due to concerns of inadequate potential of the Indian market or the capacity of exports but due to the uncertainty in the global automotive market.

The company's Chennai factory projected to have a capacity of 400,000 cars is presently on hold, however Nissan is expected to roll out the small car Micra from the Chennai plant by May, 2010.

Ghosn further said the company was in discussion with Mahindra & Mahindra for introducing new products and re-designing the Logan for the Indian market.

Sales of Logan plunged 69 per cent during the April-September period to 2,901 vehicles.

Ghosn said the next 10 years would see the tripling of sales of the Indian auto industry from 2,000,000 to 6,000,000 units. Contrary to international trends which point to the world auto industry hit by recession.