Mexico becoming Nissan's export hub for Americas: CEO

Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:21pm EST
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By Elinor Comlay

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico (Reuters) - Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T: Quote) will be producing 1 million cars in Mexico by 2016, cementing Mexico's position as export hub for Nissan in the Americas, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told Reuters on Tuesday as he inaugurated a $2 billion plant.

Most of the cars from the new plant in Aguascalientes in central Mexico will be sent by rail to destinations throughout the Americas.

A staff of 3,000 in the light, airy plant filled with rows of shiny yellow robots will produce one car every 38 seconds, in partnership with Nissan's other Aguascalientes plant.

"We like Mexico because it allows us to be competitive," Ghosn said in an interview at the plant. "It's not only about cost, it's also about quality and it's about responsiveness - capacity to respond to variation of the market very quickly."

"Mexico is becoming the export hub for the Americas - not only North America but also South America".

Nissan, 43.4 percent-owned by Renault SA (RENA.PA: Quote), of which Ghosn is also CEO, will produce about 175,000 units of its Sentra model at the new plant, which has room for expansion.

Germany's Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE: Quote) and Nissan are expected to build small Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars at the new plant in the future, but Ghosn said no decision has been made on plans to expand capacity.

Daimler is discussing "different strategies" for building the next-generation compacts in Mexico with partner Renault-Nissan, a top Daimler executive said late last month.   Continued...

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with Reuters at the company's new plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, November 12, 2013. REUTERS/Henry Romero