Renault Nissan Automotive India Private Ltd (RNAIPL) will commence export of the just-launched Nissan Micra cars to 35 countries in Europe from September this year.

Indicating this at a press conference here on Wednesday after the inauguration of the first dedicated Renault-Nissan Alliance vehicle making facility at Oragadam near here, Akira Sakurai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, said the new Nissan Micra would be exported to over 100 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The domestic sale of Micra would commence in July, he said.

He said RNAIPL would also export engine pistons, clutch disks and starter motors to Japan, Thailand and China. He estimated the export of parts to be in the vicinity of $20 million in 2010. This number could go up to $40 million by 2012, he added. While cars would be shipped through the Ennore Port, parts would be exporter through the Chennai Port.

The Renault Nissan Alliance laid much store by the strategy of “sourcing locally and making locally”. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Alliance, too insisted that this was the best way to be competitive in the marketplace. He said the localisation in new Micra could be in the vicinity of 85 per cent.

Renault Nissan Alliance had tied up with 96 suppliers across the country. Fifty per cent of its suppliers are based in and around Chennai, 30 per cent Delhi and 10 per cent each in Bangalore and Pune.

The plant would involve a total investment of Rs.4, 500 crore and have an eventual capacity of 400,000 units. In the initial phase, the capacity would be 200,000 units. The Alliance had so far invested Rs. 2,300 crore into the venture. Claimed to be as big as Tochigi facility of Nissan, the Oragadam factory could assemble both Renault and Nissan products. “It will be able to manage the operations of four platforms and eight different body types simultaneously,” Mr. Sakurai said. Like in the U.S., Japan and Europe, the paint shop at Oragadam would also be a fully automated system, he added.

The new Micra would weigh less, according to Vincent Cobee, Corporate Vice-President (Programme Head – V Platform). This would, in turn, result in fuel efficiency, he added.

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