China’s Gasgoo says that “Dongfeng Nissan has already begun preparations for domestic production of the Nissan Leaf pure electric hatchback.” Domestic as in Made-in-China. They quote Dongfeng Nissan CEO Fumiaki Matsumoto, who allegedly said: “We have already finished preparatory work for the Leaf. We hope that we can cooperate with the government and suppliers to bring over the Leaf as soon as possible.” That of course piqued our interest. After some calls, we can say with certainty: Instead of millions of Leafs roaming the streets of China tomorrow, we have a case of Lost In Translation with a French-Japanese-Chinese cast. (Read More…)
It becomes immediately clear why the Chinese government did not want an upstart manufacturer of bridge pontoons to buy HUMMER: Unnecessary duplication of what is has been available at state-owned Dongfeng for ages. They even have a Chinese version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Read More…)
In another case of unthought-through consequences, the cheered-on push for a stronger Chinese currency and higher wages strengthens the competitiveness and quality of Chinese products through increased automation of assembly lines.
Bloomberg reports that Nissan, together with the joint venture partner Dongfeng, is building a 5 billion yuan ($732m) plant in Guangzhou with the newest in automation. The factory is scheduled to open in 2012. In addition, Nissan spent about 1 billion yuan ($147m) on a second production line with the latest equipment at their Zhengzhou factory.
This is not an isolated incident. “The automation rate in China is on the rise,” said Nissan spokesman Mitsuru Yonekawa. “We need to boost productivity in China,” COO Toshiyuki Shiga said. “Just because labor costs are higher in China, we won’t be leaving.”
Did we say that Japanese brands have to do something to stop the erosion of market share in China? Nissan took the advice and said today that they started construction of their second factory in China’s southern Guangdong Province. According to The Nikkei [sub], the factory will open in 2012 with an annual capacity of 240,000 vehicles. (Read More…)
France’s PSA wants a bigger slice of the growing Chinese pie. They agreed to set up a joint venture with government-owned Changan. Peugeot already has a joint venture with Changan’s rival Dongfeng, while Changan has a joint venture with Ford. Nevertheless, the new JV will “not compete directly with other partnerships,” the companies said in a statement published by Bloomberg. (Read More…)
Western auto makers in distress are in the cross-hairs of Chinese auto makers that are riding one of the largest car booms in history. When Geely closed its deal with Ford over Volvo, we wrote: “Government owned companies like FAW, SAIC, Dongfeng, or BAIC will watch closely how privately owned Geely will digest the Volvo purchase. If successful, western car companies will be on their shopping list again.” They already are. (Read More…)