Feb 10, 2013, 10.54 PM | Source: CNBC-TV18

Strong in India first; govt aid key to green car: Nissan

In this week's edition of The Forbes India Show on CNBC0TV18, Toshiyuki Shiga, COO, Nissan Motor says that the company's priority is establish a strong presence in India first and adds that government aid is key to the widespread use of the electric car.

Welcome to this week's edition of The Forbes India Show. CNBC-TV18's Senthil Chengalvarayan and Forbes India editor-in-chief Indrajit Gupta interview Toshiyuki Shiga, COO, Nissan Motor in Chennai not far the Renault-Nissan joint venture factory which rolls out about 4,00,000 cars a year.

Below is the edited transcript of the show on CNBC-TV18

Chengalvarayan: Tell us how 2013 looks for the Japanese auto industry? Is Europe picking up? How negative has the effect of the dispute between China and Japan been apart from the 41-percent in sales in October? Has the situation begun to improve for Nissar in China?

A: Yes. Nissan's global sales in the calendar year of 2012 was 4.94 million, posting a 5.8- percent increase against the previous year. Despite the spat between Japan and China, the international sanctions on Iran and the crisis in Europe, Nissan is growing. We are expect further growth in 2013.

Chengalvarayan: Do you expect growth for Nissan alone or for the entire industry as a whole?

A: Both. The automotive industry in 2012 was around 79.4 million, increasing by around 6 percent and the industry is still growing.

Chengalvarayan: Will 2013 be better than 2012?

A: Globally, yes. There were a few difficulties before the Japan and China spat and the sanctions on Iran. However, the Chinese market still is growing at 5-7 percent. So, further growth may be expected in industry.

Gupta: Do you have an alternate plan in case Japan's relations with China worsen? And God forbid if it does, what are the options for Nissan?

A: I can't comment on the current situation but after the sanctions on Iran in mid-September 2012 we were significantly affected, but the situation is gradually improving. In December 2012 and at the start of January 2013, the number of the customers visiting our showroom has returned to normal levels

So, the customer traffic is improving. Effective orders from customers are slowly returning to 80 percent of last year’s levels. The trend in sales is also showing improvement. I expecting the governments of Japan and China to amicably settle the dispute to enable customers to get rid of any hesitation in buying Japanese cars.

Chengalvarayan: Are you happy with your progress in India?

A: I am satisfied with our progress in India. We have set some key objectives to be achieved in India. We have achieved the primary objective of entering the Indian market. We entered the Indian market in 2010 and commenced the sales of the Micra which touched around 30,000 units. In 2012, we sold 33,000 units. We aim to sell around 50,000 units this year. So, I think our growth in domestic sales is good. I have high expectations as our team in India is doing a good job.

Our Indian business has begun to export products worldwide especially to Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. Our manufacturing the team is also doing a very good job to enable exports by operating production according to schedule which also contributes to our business.

We have also set up facilities to tap India’s strength in engineering research and development. Our R&D facility employs around 2,000 people who are developing a very strategic car model- the Datsun- which will be introduced next year in the Indian market.

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