Japan's automakers eye the subcontinent

Not content with a growing foothold in North America, Japan’s automakers are also showing increased attention on the Indian subcontinent. Last Thursday, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that Nissan is planning to spend around $1 billion to produce 600,000 cars a year by 2009 in the so-called BRICs coutries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Nissan, which doesn’t confirm the story, is also reported to be considering using excess capacity at plants operated by its largest shareholder Renault of France, which has a 44% in the Japanese automaker and, in Carlos Ghosn, the same CEO. The Nikkei adds that development of a one liter, $10,000 car is underway. The following day Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters in Nagoya that Toyota plans to building a plant in Pakistan to help meeting demand for its IMV project (see Toyota’s IMV minivan above), which makes vehicles for sale in 70 emerging markets. IMV sales are expected to rise to 700,000 this year from 460,000 in 2005 so the extra capacity is certainly needed. Pakistan will be the tenth emerging market country to produce cars as part of the IMV project.

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