Nissan Motor Co. plans to open a car plant in Russia in May, despite the global financial crisis. Nissan has begun testing vehicle assembly in Russia’s second city, St Petersburg.
Japan’s third-largest automaker is building a $200 million factory with an annual capacity of 50,000 cars in St Petersburg, sometimes referred to as the Russian Detroit because of its booming automotive industry.
“Now the test assembly of cars is going on, the factory opening (will be) at the end of May,” Maxim Sokolov, the head of St Petersburg’s committee on investment and strategic projects, told journalists.
Last November, when U.S. automotive giant General Motors launched its first wholly owned Russian factory in St Petersburg, the Nissan project had been expected to start operations this February.
Russia had been poised to become the largest car market in Europe this year, but the global financial crisis has taken its toll, with car sales now expected to fall by as much as 50 percent compared with 2008 levels.
Nissan, owned 44 percent by France’s Renault, said this week it would cut 20,000 jobs as it braces for its first annual loss in a decade.
Sept 18, 2008 - Satoshi Aoki, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, warned that the ongoing U.S. financial crisis is having a major effect on the global economy.
Automobile demand in such emerging economies as China and India has already begun to weaken, Aoki, also chairman of Honda Motor Co., said at a press conference.
The financial crisis is certain to have a negative impact on consumer sentiment in the United States, he said. Aoki also showed concerns about a credit squeeze, noting that consumers may face difficulties securing loans to buy cars.
Monthly new vehicle sales in the United States have fallen year on year for 10 straight months through August due to soaring gasoline prices and the slowdown of the U.S. economy.
New vehicle sales in the U.S. market are unlikely to reach 14.5 million units in 2008, far lower than last year’s 16.14 million units, Aoki said.
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association : http://www.jama-english.jp/
Sales of used automobiles in Japan in August fell 11.2 pct from a year before to 301,628 units, posting a year-on-year drop for the 29th straight month, an industry group said.
The sale figure was the lowest in 26 years for the month of August, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association. The data cover vehicles with engine displacements of over 660 c.c., with minivehicles with smaller engines excluded.
The drop was attributable to a decrease in the number of high-quality trade-in vehicles reflecting a slump in new vehicle sales, association officials said.
Of the total, sales of used passenger cars fell 13.7 pct to 251,661 units.
Of them, sales of cars with engine displacements of up to 2,000 c.c. were down 16.2 pct at 130,934 units, the lowest for August since the association started the survey in 1978. Sales of cars with larger engines sank 10.7 pct to 120,727 units.
Truck sales rose 6.2 pct to 41,121 units, the first increase in 23 months, while bus sales dropped 12.8 pct to 1,008 units.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car ranked as the 10th best-selling vehicle in Japan in August, industry data showed.
Sales of the Prius rose 13.3 pct from a year before to 4,708 units in August, when Toyota announced plans to raise its price in September due to rising costs for steel and other materials.
Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Wagon R minivehicle took the top slot for the eighth straight month with sales of 13,737 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and Japan Mini Vehicles Association said.
Five of the 10 top-selling models were minivehicles with engine displacement of up to 660 c.c., indicating that fuel-efficient vehicles continue to be popular at a time of soaring fuel prices.
Honda Motor Co.’s Fit subcompact came in second with sales of 11,770 units, followed by Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Tanto minivehicle with 10,718 units.
Among larger vehicles, Honda’s Freed minivan ranked seventh with 5,931 units.