August 31, 2012 00:00 By Kingsley Wijayasinha
Nissan is facing production constraints just when the domestic market for new automobiles is expected to reach a record 1.2 million units this year.
"Following current market conditions, we are seriously studying plans to expand production," Takayuki Kimura, president of Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co, said yesterday.
The Nissan Manufacturing Thailand (NMT) plant rolls out 220,000 vehicles per year, while 40,000 Nissan pickup trucks are assembled at the Mitsubishi Motors Laem Chabang plant.
The market is undergoing a "boom" due to the government’s first-car-buyer scheme, Kimura said, adding that the situation would continue for several months. Nissan wants to capture 10 per cent of the local market, or 120,000 units, and then increase its share to 15 per cent by 2016.It also exports the Thai-made March city car to Japan and other markets.
"We can’t produce every model in Japan and there’s an opportunity for more models to be imported from Thailand," said Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan expects to assemble 260,000 vehicles in Thailand this fiscal year ending in |March, with 140,000 units to be exported.
Yesterday the company launched the brand new Sylphy compact car at prices from Bt746,000-Bt931,000.
Sales of the Sylphy, which comes with two engine variants, 1.6 and 1.8 litres, are expected to reach 20,000 units this fiscal year.
Exports of the Sylphy are expected to commence in December or January to the Asia-Oceania and Middle East markets.
However, because of limitations at the NMT plant, only 10,000 units can be delivered this year.
Another body style of the Sylphy will be introduced this fiscal year, Kimura said.