Brazil is touted to soon eclipse Japan as the world’s third largest auto market, and there is at least one Japanese company that wants to make hay of this: Nissan. The Nikkei [sub] heard that Nissan plans a Brazilian factory which “will have an annual production capacity of roughly 200,000 units and will begin churning out strategic small cars in 2014.”
Nissan is betting heavily on emerging markets, but has been a relative nobody in Brazil. According to the Tokyo business-paper, “Nissan aims to boost its market share from 1.2 percent now to at least 5 percent in fiscal 2016.”
Nissan’s plans to build a factory in Brazil are not necessarily latest news, it had been confirmed since June. The plant will be in the State of Rio de Janeiro, close to a port. In the beginning, most will be shipped in from Mexico, for local assembly. The first car to be made there is said to be the Nissan March, better known as the Micra in the U.S. In Mexico, the March saw strong sales since its launch in April 2011. The Micra/March has so far been sold more than 6 million times worldwide and ist Nissan’s no longer secret weapon for the invasion of the emerging markets.
It will most likely meet spirited resistance. Says the Nikkei:
“The Brazilian auto market has been growing by more than 10 percent a year, with some 3.57 million units sold in 2010. Competition is stiff, with four U.S. and European automakers, including Italy’s Fiat SpA and General Motors Co. of the U.S., controlling a combined 70 percent of the market. Nissan hopes to catch up by locally assembling its strategic small car.”
If they maintain their advertising spunk (see above,) I’ll move there. And let’s not forget, Carlos Ghosn has a Brazilian passport and could claim that he plays for the home team.