November 25, 2008 - 1:58 pm EST
MEXICO CITY -- Nissan Motor Co. will start producing a new compactcar for Chrysler LLC at its Aguascalientes assembly plant in central Mexico in early 2009, a Nissan spokesman said yesterday.
The car, to be exported to Brazil, is based on Nissan’s Versa sedan, which the Japanese automaker builds at two plants in Mexico: Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca. In Mexico the Nissan car is sold as the Tiida.
Nissan and Chrysler announced the manufacturing deal last January but didn’t say where the vehicle would be made.
Diego Arrazola, head of corporate communications at Nissan subsidiary Nissan Mexicana, told Automotive News the car will be produced in Aguascalientes, where Nissan’s Versa/Tiida is built for shipment to the United States and Canada.
The Cuernavaca plant assembles the same Nissan vehicle for export to 50-plus countries, including those in Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Through the first nine months, Nissan exported 162,769 Versas/Tiidas from Mexico, 12.5 percent fewer than in the same period in 2007, according to the country’s automotive industry association, AMIA.
In January, Chrysler and Nissan said the new Chrysler-badged car was “for limited distribution in South America” and would be supplied to Chrysler in 2009.In April, both companies announced Nissan also would manufacture a new fuel-efficient small car, designed by Chrysler, at Nissan’s Oppama plant in Japan.
The new segment entry for Chrysler was intended for North America, Europe and other markets in 2010, they said.
In the same announcement, both companies said Chrysler would manufacture a full-sized, Nissan-designed pickup for Nissan at Chrysler’s Saltillo assembly plant in northern Mexico, starting in 2010.