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FSO to make cars for Nissan?


FSO, the troubled Warsaw car maker, is in talks with Nissan about a deal to produce cars for the Japanese auto maker, Rzeczpospolita has learnt. FSO officials were due to visit Nissan’s European HQ in Switzerland in the first days of February for further discussions.

According to the newspaper, if the parties reach agreement in principle about the joint project, production could start already in 2012. That is because FSO could adapt existing production lines which until recently were used to make Chevrolet Aveo, which would significantly reduce the costs and time needed to launch production of Nissan cars, compared with a greenfield project. The value of the investment is not known yet.

The Nissan deal is seen as a last-ditch opportunity for FSO, after the failure of talks with China’s Chery and India’s Mahindra last year and of plans to produce car parts or white goods as a contract manufacturer.

In 2010 FSO put out just 45,800 vehicles, down by 14% on 2009. In February, when the licensing agreement for the Aveo expires, the company will lay off 1,200 workers, out of a total of 1,800.

Poland is Nissan’s 10th largest market. The Japanese firm declined to comment on the news about the FSO deal.

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