Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has started production of the latest version of Qashqai at its plant in St Petersburg, a move which brings the crossover to the Russian market, Just-Auto reported. Production of the new Nissan X-Trail was launched at the plant in October.
The company says the new Nissan Qashqai features a range of important upgrades to both the exterior and interior, offering enhanced functionality and Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies.
The company said it plans to increase production at its plant in St Petersburg this year and build on last year’s record-breaking sales.
Given low forecast sales on the domestic Russian market, however, this may depend on increasing exports to adjacent markets, said the chief executive of Nissan Manufacturing Rus, Igor Boitsov.
Nissan produced 56,500 vehicles at St Petersburg in 2018, 23% up on the previous year and the highest annual total since the plant opened 10 years ago, Boitsov told local think-tank the Russian Business Consulting Agency recently.
Despite last year’s increase in production output, the St Petersburg plant is still operating well below capacity, the company said. It is designed to make around 100,000 vehicles a year and has a sufficiently flexible production set-up to do just that if sales rise, said Boitsov.
The Association of European Businesses (AEB) has estimated that vehicle sales in Russia will increase by just 3.5% this year, making any substantial increase in production at St Petersburg based on the domestic market unlikely.