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Factoring in Russia

Aug. 27 – St. Petersburg – Growth in Europe’s strongest car market is key to Nissan’s global expansion, and raising output at Russian factories such as St. Petersburg will be essential.

Nissan targets a near doubling of market share in the nation of 140 million to at least 10% by the year 2016, and that means a tripling of annual sales.

Dmitry Mikhailov, Managing Director of the St. Petersburg Plant, said expansion has been quick but steady.

“Nissan made a great development over the last five years in Russia. First, we built a factory, we started the factory, and launched three shifts and three models,” he said.

“We started with Teana, after that we launched X-Trail and then Murano. X-trail is our biggest model in terms of numbers, as this model in particular is popular with Russian customers.”

Nissan announced plans in May to invest 167 million euro, or about $213 million, in the St. Petersburg plant, adding jobs and more cars to the model line up.

“So, realistically from a statistical point of view, we are speaking about 30% of all cars that Nissan is selling in Russia are produced in this factory,” said Mikhailov. “After expansion, this percentage will increase and we will deliver more models that will be popular in Russia.”

Living standards and incomes are rising in Russia, and to meet higher demand a production ramp up is coming.

The vast country, with a $1.9 trillion economy, will soon be home to three Nissan brands as well as firm Alliance production ties.

The strategy for Nissan and other manufactures in Russia now appears to be “If you build it – locally, they will indeed come.”

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