Japan's Nissan to ramp up production at India car plant

NEW DELHI, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co will ramp up production at its car plant in India to meet demand for its Magnite sports-utility vehicle (SUV), which it also plans to export, a senior executive said on Monday.

Nissan will hire 1,000 more workers at its plant in the southern Indian city of Chennai and boost production to up to 4,000 cars a month from 2,700 cars currently, Rakesh Srivastava, managing director at Nissan Motor India, told reporters.

The automaker plans to export the compact SUV to Indonesia and South Africa but meeting demand in the Indian market will be a priority, Srivastava said.

Nissan has had a difficult run in India with sales having slumped 60% over the past five years and its sole plant in the country operating way below capacity.

The Magnite’s success is expected to determine the amount of money and energy that Nissan will spend to turn its fortunes around in India, sources have told Reuters.

Globally, the Japanese automaker is pursuing a turnaround drive that involves cutting its vehicle line-up and production and slashing costs in an effort to plug losses and reverse rapid expansion led by its ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn. (Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)