In yet another example of SUVs' popularity in emerging markets, Nissan is investing more than $200 million in its St. Petersburg, Russia plant to increase output of its popular Qashqai compact SUV, according to Automotive News. The Qashqai is related to the Rogue model sold in the U.S. The St. Petersburg plant also produces the X-Trail SUV and Teana sedan.
With 5.9 percent of the market, Nissan already has the largest share of any Japanese automaker in the country, but is looking to expand its market share to 10 percent by 2016, increasing its annual sales to 161,000 vehicles. The company also said it intends for 80 percent of its cars sold in Russia to be locally-produced by 2016.
Nissan, along with parent company Renault, announced earlier this month that they intend to take a majority stake in AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest domestic automaker. The $750 million investment would give Nissan/Renault a 74.5 percent stake in the automaker. The AvtoVAZ plant in Tolyatti, Russia is part of Nissan's plan to launch the revived Datsun brand in the country.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)