The State government is currently formulating a policy on automobiles and components, which will be ready soon, Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Wednesday.

Participating in the inauguration of the plant of Renault Nissan Alliance at Oragadam near here, Mr. Stalin, also handling the portfolio of industries, said according to the Automotive Mission Plan 2006-2016 document, the country was set to emerge as the destination for design and manufacture of automobiles, and auto components, with the output reaching a level of $ 145 billion and providing additional employment to 25 million people by 2016. “Our government is committed to capitalise on this opportunity and attract a major share of investment flows,” he said, unveiling a plaque to mark the inauguration of the plant.

Later, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi pressed a button to open the assembly line of the plant and the roll out of ‘Micra’ cars.

Chennai houses seven automobile majors

Mr. Karunanidhi said with the establishment of the Renault-Nissan car project, Chennai had become the home of seven automobile majors out of top 20 global automobile manufacturers. The other automobile majors located in Tamil Nadu were Daimler, Ford, BMW, Hyundai and Mitsubishi.

Though Chennai has become the country’s largest automobile hub, Chennai was lacking the vehicle testing facilities. Therefore, automobile manufacturers had to send their vehicles to Pune for testing and certification. On the State government’s initiative, the Union government was implementing the National Automotive Testing Research and Development Infrastructure Project (NATRIP) in Oragadam at a cost of about Rs. 450 crore. The State government had given 304 of land to this project. This project was aimed at facilitating the introduction of world class automotive safety, emission and performance standards in India and ensuring seamless integration of our automotive industry with the global industry.

Nissan unit ready

Tracing the history of the project, Mr. Stalin said after a memorandum of understanding was signed in February 2008, the Nissan unit was now ready. “Renault will also establish its car project, as envisaged in the MoU,” he expressed the hope. [The project envisaged separate manufacturing lines for the partners].

Once both Reanult and Nissan plants were established, their total annual installed capacity for the production of cars would be four lakh, and the total investment would be Rs. 4,500 crore, providing employment to about 10,500 persons directly, and another 31,000 indirectly, the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Yoshiro Mori, Chairman of Japan-India Association and former Japanese Prime Minister, explained how the relationship between the two countries developed since his visit to India in 2000 in the capacity of Prime Minister. The number of Japanese companies established in and around Chennai was at 170 from 65 three years ago.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, said the manufacturing system combined the best practices of the two companies. He also reiterated his organisation’s commitment to fuel efficiency and other quality parameters.

Akira Sakurai, Managing Director of Renault Nissan Automobile India and Marc Nassif, deputy managing director of the company, were among those who spoke on the occasion.