Nissan has been quick to clarify reports that dealers in western Europe have been suffering a shortage in the supply of Micra models since production of the vehicle switched from the UK’s Sunderland plant to Orangandam in India last October.
The carmaker’s managing director of West Operations (France and Benelux), Pierre Boutin, was quoted last week as stating that stocks of the Micra for western Europe were completely depleted last November and not likely to reach normal levels again until March.
A spokeswoman told Automotive Logistics News that the gap in availability was between the previous Micra and the new Micra and was a problem exclusive to France.
“This is a demand and not a supply issue due to the sales boom created by the end of the scrappage incentive scheme,” she said. “Demand for small cars was incredibly strong and the previous Micra sold out earlier than expected so missed the final December surge. However, France still posted CY2010 sales +24% over 2009.”
Nissan began exports of the Micra from India to markets in Europe last October beginning with a consignment of nearly 4,000 vehicles produced at its Orangadam plant in Chennai from the adjacent port of Ennore (read more here).
According to the company the new Micra launch is continuing as planned and is now on sale or in the process of being launched in most European countries.
“In line with our initial plans, Nissan India has exported more than 20,000 vehicles to Europe since the beginning of the exports in October,” said the spokeswoman. “The plan is to export a total of 110,000 units between October 2010 and October 2011.”
Meanwhile, in the US, Carlos Tavares, chairman of Nissan Americas, has announced that the company is looking at shifting production of its next-generation Rogue crossover from Nissan's Kyushu, Japan factory to its assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.
“The move will take place by 2013 and will localize more than 100,000 units of production annually within the Americas region,” said a company spokesman.
Shifting production of the Rogue to Smyrna is expected to increase the local supplier content of fully built-up units to 85% by 2015 within the Americas region, and reduce by 50% the number of parts coming from Japan by 2014.
The production shift will also reduce exposure to the yen in North America by 50% within four years said the company. A recent resurgence in the strength of the yen against the dollar has reduced the amount of yen revenue that Nissan has been able to make from cars and trucks sold for dollars. By switching production to North America, the company hopes to offset the negative impact of a rising yen.
Nissan would not comment on the impact the move will have on parts and finished vehicle logistics operations between Japan and the US, saying only that further details would be made available closer to the start of production.
Last year, more than 30% of all the vehicles sold by Nissan and Infiniti dealers in the US came from Japan.