RIO DE JANEIRO – Japanese automaker Nissan plans to be among the top three automakers in Latin America and, as part of its strategy, announced the introduction of a new model in Brazil as it awaits completion of a new plant in Argentina.
“We want to place Nissan among Latin America’s three largest. We have the capacity to do it, we have the potential to do it,” Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the global Renault-Nissan alliance, said in a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.
Nissan has been strengthening its presence in Latin America and consolidated its subsidiaries in Chile and Argentina last year, Ghosn said, adding that the company unveiled a $600 million investment in Argentina to build a plant at a Renault industrial complex, where pick-up trucks will be built.
“We created a Nissan operating unit in Latin America and we reinforced our presence in Brazil. The initial kick off this year aims to spur growth across Latin America,” Ghosn said, referring to the introduction of the new model in Brazil.
Nissan will start manufacturing the Kicks, a new crossover model initially designed for Latin America but which will be distributed worldwide, in Brazil this year.
“The Kicks is a Brazilian product to be manufactured initially in Brazil, and we will export it from here to all Latin America, but we will also build it in our plants in other countries,” Ghosn said.
Manufacturing of this compact SUV with the appearance of an automobile will require an additional investment of 750 million reais (about $187.5 million) at Nissan’s plant in Resende, a city in Rio de Janeiro state, and the hiring of 600 new employees.
The Nissan industrial complex in Resende, opened in 2014 with an investment of 2.6 billion reais ($650 million), currently produces two models – March and Versa – in addition to engines, but with the manufacturing of the Kicks it will become a new export platform for Nissan.
The plant Nissan is building in the Argentine province of Cordoba, which will start manufacturing its prime pick-up truck, the NP 30 Frontier, in 2018, will also be an export platform for Latin America.