Nissan to build new $358 million auto plant in Thailand


Nissan Motor Co. said Friday it will spend about $358 million to construct a second auto assembly plant in Thailand as it ramps up production overseas, away from its costly domestic factories.

The new plant in Samut Prakan Province will be built close to Nissan’s factory near Bangkok, and will eventually employ about 6,000 workers.

Japan’s second-biggest automaker said it will initially build 75,000 vehicles at the new plant, scheduled to open in August 2014, before expanding annual output to 150,000 units. Nissan made 190,00 vehicles in Thailand last year.

“(It) will not only enable us to raise our competitiveness in the domestic market, but will ensure Thailand’s position as a key strategic global export hub for Nissan,” the automaker’s executive vice president, Hiroto Saikawa, said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Japanese automakers have cut production in China amid a sales slump stoked by tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over the Senkaku Islands.

The firm has set a goal to more than double its share of Thailand’s vehicle market to 15 percent by fiscal 2016. Nissan’s existing facility emerged largely unscathed from record flooding in Thailand last year that dented production of Japanese firms operating in the country, although it was forced to temporarily halt operations due to a parts shortage.

In common with many Japanese companies, Nissan is seeking growth overseas to rebalance the aging and shrinking consumer base at home.

Storm hits U.S. growth


Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. logged slower growth in new automobile sales in the United States in October than the month before, according to industry data.

The slowdown was because of the devastating storm that struck the East Coast at the end of the month, carmakers said Thursday.

Toyota saw its sales of cars and light trucks rise 15.8 percent in October from a year before to 155,242 units and Honda’s sales went up 8.8 percent to 106,973 units, Autodata Corp. said.

Some 4,000 Toyota vehicles on lots at a New Jersey port were damaged by the storm.