On August 31, 2020, Nissan Motor Thailand reportedly announced to its dealers in a letter, stating that production and distribution of the Nissan Sylphy, Teana and X-Trail models will end on September 1.
According to the Bangkok Post, the company plans to focus on subcompact cars, small MPVs, commercial vehicles, and electrified vehicles. Dealers were also advised to stop publicity campaigns and “destroy” promotional materials of the Sylphy, Teana and X-Trail once they sold out.
Existing owners of the soon-to-be discontinued models are assured that replacement parts will continue to be supplied, and that dealers would still service said vehicles.
Nissan Motor Thailand has yet to publicly confirm this. A spokesman said “we don’t comment on our product strategy,” and added that other models would continue to meet the needs of local consumers.
Thailand Automotive Institute president, Pisit Rangsaritwutikul said a change in production lines among car makers during the economic recession – exacerbated by the pandemic – is normal. They need to adjust themselves to markets in each country.
“I’m not shocked by the news reports. The parent company will have already carefully considered what car models will be produced to satisfy motorists in different countries,” Rangsaritwutikul said.
He also said the Thai market has potential for EVs, and it’s likely that companies see an opportunity for new business directions. Case in point – the Nissan Kicks e-Power facelift, an electric B-segment SUV with a range extender, made its global debut in Thailand earlier in May, and is the second country in the world to produce the e-Power hybrid powertrain.
The Japanese automaker is determined to produce hybrid and electric cars in the long term, and has even won the support from the Board of Investment through its incentive programmes, said Thai industry minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.
All this is part of a grander scheme aimed at turning the company around, which has been in turmoil since the saga involving former chairman Carlos Ghosn broke in 2018. Earlier in March, Nissan shut one of its two production facilities in Indonesia, and announced that it will scale back production in at least seven other facilities globally. For now, Nissan’s sole production base in Southeast Asia is in Thailand.
Besides shuttering plants, it also planned to cut over 20,000 jobs, or a whopping 15% of its 139,000-strong global workforce. Moving forward, Nissan will strengthen its core models, including plans to launch 12 new models in 18 months. The next-generation Fairlady Z, dubbed the 400Z, is part of the new brigade, and will be unveiled soon on September 15.