October 24, 2012 / 12:40 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Nissan Motor to spend $376 mln on new Thai plant-Nikkei

TOKYO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co plans to spend about 30 billion yen ($376 million) on a new plant in Thailand in 2014 to diversify production in the wake of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China last month, the Nikkei business daily said on Wednesday.

Nissan, which is under pressure to chase Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co in Southeast Asia, plans to

put the plant onstream with an annual output of around 100,000 vehicles, including 1-tonne pickup trucks and passenger cars, the paper said.

Production capacity will later be expanded to an annual 200,000 vehicles, doubling Nissan’s current production capacity in Thailand, it said.

Spokesman Chris Keeffe declined to comment on the report.

Nissan, which is heavily focused on China, is seeking to diversify production in Southeast Asia to catch up with Toyota and Honda, which both plan to ramp up production there, the paper said.

Nissan is behind its rivals in Southeast Asia in both sales and local production capability.

Nissan, which had previously planned to jointly produce pickup trucks with Mitsubishi Motors Corp, decided to build the new plant as Mitsubishi’s Thai plant is running at full capacity to meet demand for Mirage vehicles, the paper said.

Nissan also plans to beef up its lineup of hybrid cars with five mid-sized vehicles, including the Altima sedan, the Sankei newspaper said.

Nissan shares were down 1.1 percent, in line with the Nikkei average’s 1 percent fall.

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