BUSAN ― Renault Samsung Motors on Friday began shipping the first batch of Nissan Rogue crossovers that have been produced at its Busan plant as of September.
Under the strategic alliance between Renault and Nissan, the Korean carmaker plans to supply an annual 80,000 Rogue vehicles to the U.S. by 2019. Sales will begin in October.
“The Rogue production is in a unique win-win-win case under the Renault-Nissan alliance,” said Gilles Normand, head of Renault’s Asia-Pacific division. “(This) took two years of hard work across three continents ― Asia, Europe and the U.S.”
The Rogue is the second best-selling Nissan car in the U.S. Thanks to its popularity, the Tennessee plant has thus far operated at its maximum capacity of 240,000 vehicles per year.
Renault Samsung Motors CEO Francois Provost (right) and Pierre Loing, vice president and product strategy and planning at Nissan America, celebrate the first shipment of the Nissan Rogue from the Korean carmaker’s Busan plant on Friday. (Renault Samsung Motors)
With the production of the Rogue, the Busan plant, which has suffered from production losses in recent years, hopes to elevate its annual output to some 190,000 vehicles from next year.
As part of related efforts, the plant has also improved its productivity by 20 percent over the past two years, competing head-on with the U.S. plant without raising additional costs, officials said.
“Our competitors are global Renault-Nissan Alliance factories,” said Lee Hae-jin, a production executive at the Busan plant. “Securing the Rogue production proves our production competitiveness.”
Normand, the firm’s Asia-Pacific chief, also hinted that the Rogue production would serve the basis for Renault Samsung to produce new models in the future, including the next version of the QM5 sport utility vehicle.
“We have already given RSM the responsibility for developing the new QM5. We will help them develop global models for Renault and RSM lineup,” he added.
Renault Samsung also expected that some 87 Korean suppliers would benefit from the Rogue production, as sales are expected to surge to 3.1 trillion won in the next five years.
Since November, some 120,000 Rogue vehicles have been sold in the U.S. following its launch there, Renault Samsung officials said.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)