Nissan halts production at Changzhou plant as China woes persist

TOKYO, (Reuters) – Nissan Motor has halted production at its Changzhou plant in China as it seeks to optimise its operations, the Japanese automaker said on Friday.

The Changzhou plant, jointly operated with Nissan’s local partner Dongfeng Motor, was producing the Qashqai SUV with annual capacity of about 130,000 vehicles a year, a Nissan spokesperson said.

The Nikkei business daily had earlier reported that Nissan was shutting the plant.

Nissan’s total production capacity in the world’s biggest auto market is 1.6 million vehicles, with the Changzhou plant accounting for 8% of that, the spokesperson said, adding that the company remains committed to China.

The Japanese carmaker operates eight factories in China through its joint venture with Dongfeng, but like other Japanese manufacturers it has lost market share to fast-moving local rivals that are attracting drivers with an array of software-loaded electric vehicles priced at similar levels to cars powered by internal combustion engines.

Smaller rival Mitsubishi Motors decided last year to end production at its Chinese joint venture.
Mitsubishi is also Nissan’s partner in a long-standing alliance with French carmaker Renault.

Reporting by Daniel Leussink and Kantaro Komiya Editing by David Goodman