MUMBAI, India (AP) -- Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. inaugurated their first joint car factory in India on Wednesday, the companies said.
The plant in the southern Indian city of Chennai is part of a $990 million joint investment and will be able to produce up to 400,000 vehicles a year by 2015.
Production of Nissan's new sub-compact Micra will start in May 2010, with an initial workforce of 1,500, the companies said.
The Micra is Nissan's first attempt to tap India's fast-growing market for small cars. It will also be exported to over 100 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Production of Renault's Koleos and Fluence cars, both for India's domestic market, is scheduled to start in 2011.
"With the new Micra, we have the start of a product offensive in India that is supported by a localized manufacturing facility capable of making products for both Renault and Nissan," Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.
Renault and Nissan are also working with India's Bajaj Auto to produce a super-cheap car to compete with the Tata Nano and with India's Ashok Leyland to develop vehicles.
Renault owns 44 percent of Nissan and Nissan owns 15 percent of Renault.