The Japanese automaker, Nissan Motor, has chosen to increase its Russian production in a bid to counter the disastrous effects of the collapsing local currency that have rendered imports unattractive.
Following a 167 million euro investment that has taken the output capacity of the company’s St. Petersburg plant to double to 100,000 units per year, Nissan introduced the X-Trail SUV at the plant this week and prepares to also add the new Qashqai in 2015. Colin Lawther, Nissan Europe’s head of manufacturing, says the decision has been made because it “is not as attractive as it once was” to export the latter model from the company’s Sunderland, England facility to Russia. The executive further added that the pressure from the collapsing local currency has added to the stress faced by carmakers that import cars in Russia.
The Japanese automaker counts Russia as one of Qashqai’s two largest European markets together with the UK and the crossover is the country’s second-best selling model after the already locally produced Almera compact sedan. Since the beginning of the year, Nissan has delivered 27,323 Qashqais, 22,251 X-Trails and 42,220 Almeras in Russia. The automaker also wants to shed reliance on the currency fluctuations by having 90% of the cars sold in Russia produced locally by 2016 – the other models already assembled there are the Murano and Pathfinder large SUVs and the Teana midsize sedan.
Via Automotive News Europe