Representational Image
Representational Image

Japanese carmaker Nissan has initiated a gradual ramp-up of production at its Chennai plant as it looks to cater to the pent up demand for its models across domestic and international markets, according to a top company official.

The Oragadam-based plant, which is owned by Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd (RNAIPL), had to temporarily suspend operations from May 26-30 due to the worsening of the COVID-19 situation in Tamil Nadu.

The plant closure came after the company had a prolonged tussle with labour unions who demanded work to be stopped at the company's factory.

The factory recommenced production on May 31. On June 4, the Madras High Court allowed the plant to continue with production while asking the automaker to address issues flagged by the state government on the safety of workmen, vis-a-vis COVID-19.

"After a brief pause due to the challenges posed by the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in India, we have carefully resumed operations and initiated a second shift by ramping up production in a phased and gradual manner," Nissan Motor India Managing Director Rakesh Srivastava told PTI.

As a people-first organisation, the company has taken a host of measures towards employee well-being, while continuing to observe all safety protocols mandated by the government authorities, he added.

Srivastava noted that the situation is still fluid, with production processes, manpower and supply chains taking time to attain normalcy.

"But we are hopeful that the situation in the country will steadily improve so that we may operate at full force and increase volumes of the all-new Magnite, Kicks and Datsun portfolio to meet growing demands in India and our export markets," he added.

On shortage of critical components, Srivastava said, "The semiconductor situation has also improved drastically since it emerged at the start of the year. We, at Nissan, work closely with our global teams, manufacturing plant and channel partners to address such supply chain and production issues." The company has formed a cross-functional 'Semi-conductor Task Force' that proactively works on anticipating global and local shortages whilst seeking alternative solutions, he added.

"We are confident that our experience has allowed us to manage the COVID-19 wave with more resilience, positivity and innovation to drive our business," Srivastava said.

The first joint Renault-Nissan Alliance plant for global markets, the Chennai facility has a production capacity of 400,000 units per annum. Opened in March 2010, the plant involves an investment of Rs 4,500 crore and employs 1,500 people.

Koleos and Fluence were the first vehicles designed for the Indian market to roll off the production lines.

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