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Nissan Prefers Mahindra as Indian Partner

The third largest Japanese car manufacturer has recently expressed its intention to expand its operation in the growing Indian auto market. Recently, the company's outspoken CEO in Carlos Ghosn said that they are looking to partner with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. in their projected expansion in India. The Indian car maker is the one that Nissan is looking to team up in their production of an economy car for the Indian auto market.

According to Ghosn, Nissan is studying the local business atmosphere in India. Their biggest local competitor in India, Tata Motors Ltd. is scheduled to unveil a $3,000 car next year and Nissan is looking to team up with an Indian car manufacturer to compete with Tata in the Indian auto market especially in the economy car segment.

"Although we haven't finalized any deal yet, it's rather obvious that Mahindra is our Indian national partner," said Ghosn. "We'll be ready when the (Tata) car comes to the market as we'll have enough information. If it makes sense, we'll be ready to start (production of our own model)."

The Indian market is growing steadily and experts are projecting that it will become the third largest car market after the turn of the decade. The most profitable segment in the Indian auto market is the compact car class. That is why Nissan is eager to come up with an economy car that will attract the attention of Indian car buyers. Making a good impression in the segment will go a long way in promoting the Nissan brand in the country.

Aside from the development of economy cars in India, Ghosn also pointed out that Nissan is investing in the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries. According to Nissan's CEO, the development of the advanced battery will be a key for them to close the gap between them and Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda.

Nissan's effort to develop the first lithium-ion battery for practical automotive application seems to be going at full speed and would only take a pair of good brake pads from EBC Active Brakes Direct to stop it. Car manufacturers aside from Nissan are also developing advanced lithium-ion battery packs which will be one of the most important components of a hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

Aside from Nissan, General Motors and Toyota are also moving at full speed in their development of future-generation lithium-ion batteries for automotive application. For General Motors, they are looking to use an advanced lithium-ion battery pack for the Chevy Volt. For Toyota, the lithium-ion battery that they will develop will replace the nickel-metal hydride batteries that they are using on the iconic Toyota Prius.

Nissan is expected to come up with its own hybrid vehicle by 2010. Today, the Japanese car manufacturer is selling a Nissan Altima Hybrid in the United States auto market but the hybrid powertrain that it uses is developed by Toyota.

"We continue on the lithium-ion battery. We think for us it's a competitive advantage," said Ghosn. "We have a lot of technology in this area, and we think this is going to be very helpful, not only for hybrids but also for electric cars."

Ghosn also pointed out that Nissan will be developing fully electric vehicles in the future. "If you have an efficient battery for a hybrid, why not go all the way and go for electric cars? It has zero emissions of anything."

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive.buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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