Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Nissan to start Vietnam production, sales by 2010

HANOI, June 30 (Reuters) - Nissan Vietnam Co Ltd, part-owned by Japan's Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), said on Tuesday it would start production in Vietnam and market the first locally assembled vehicle by 2010.

"Vietnam is a strategic market for Nissan with tremendous opportunities," Shinya Hannya, Nissan's corporate vice president for Asian markets, said in a statement without giving production details.

The Southeast Asian country's economy is forecast to grow 4.5 percent this year, compared with just 0.7 percent for the whole of Southeast Asia, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Nissan cars will be assembled at a domestic automobile firm, Vietnam Motor Corporation, and distributed by Nissan Vietnam, a venture established in December 2008 by the Japanese car maker and Denmark's Kjaer Group A/S, the statement said.

January-May sales by the 16 car makers operating in Vietnam fell 35 percent from the same period last year to 58,860 units, industry reports said.

Dealers say demand could slow significantly in the rest of 2009 as consumers put off big-ticket purchases such as cars and houses.

Last year, car sales rose 37 percent to a record 110,186 units.

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