By Kingsley Wijayasinha
Yutaka Sanada, Nissan Motor Co’s senior vice president for Asia-Oceania, said Nissan is looking for a production hub for EVs outside Japan and there is much interest in Thailand.
“I believe that Thailand could be the first production hub for EVs outside Japan for both the domestic and export markets,” he said at Nissan’s 1-million-unit export ceremony at Laem Chabang port on Thursday.
“You can expect Thailand being used as an electrification production hub for both domestic and export markets in the future,” Sanada added. “We are working intensively on this project and will find a chance to announce it soon”.
Nissan had recently launched the Leaf EV in Thailand, and plans to introduce other electrified models such as the Note E-Power to the market in the future.
Last year Nissan increased exports from the Thailand by 19-per cent, and is the fifth-largest auto exporter from the Kingdom.
The company yesterday celebrated its 1-milliont-vehicle export milestone from Thailand, after starting up its assembly line here in 1960. Exports started in 1999 with the Frontier pickup trucks shipped to Australia.
Last year, top export markets from Nissan Thailand were the Philippines, Australia and Japan.
Other export destinations include Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Vietnam, New Zealand, Dubai and Oman.
Nissan has two assembly plants in Samut Prakarn province, capable of churning out a combined 370,000 units a year.
It also opened a regional R&D test centre located next to the Samut Prakarn plants.
“Apart from the long history between Nissan and Thailand, the Thai production facilities are very important to Nissan,” said Antoine Barthes, president of Nissan Motor Thailand Co Ltd.
“The Thai facility is one of the few Nissan factories that export vehicles back to Japan and that shows the high quality of the products being made here,” he said.
“The Thai facility is also the model plant for the Navara pickup around the world.”