Japanese auto major Nissan announced Thursday plans to hire 1,500 people in India to strengthen R&D and global digital hub while also stating that it would go for “voluntary separation” at its Chennai manufacturing unit.

The company, which is seeking to revive its presence in India, said it would go for separate dealerships for Nissan and Datsun brands especially in smaller towns in the country.

As part of a new strategy, the company is positioning the Nissan at the upper end building on the brand’s global SUV heritage while the Datsun brand will address the mass market segment, Nissan Chairman for Africa, Middle East and India Peyman Kargar said.

The company already employs around 7,000 people at its R&D centre near Chennai doing development work for vehicles in India and handling engineering activities for its alliance with Renault.

“We are going to invest in this area in India further. We will hire 1,000 for R&D this year and another 500 for the newly set up digital hub,” Kargar said.

In the coming years, in India, he said, “We will grow and our workforce will shift towards highly skilled jobs to lead the technological changes coming to the auto industry in India.” On the other hand, he said the company will also reduce excess manpower starting with its manufacturing vertical. “Our aim is to ensure our operations in India are best in class and that India becomes an even more significant global hub for Nissan and the alliance in manufacturing, engineering and R&D,” he added.

As part of the company’s MOVE 2022 strategy, Nissan is looking to fix its business operation in India along with Saudi Arabia, where it has made significant investment but hasn’t had much success.

Meanwhile, Nissan plans to introduce its Kicks compact SUV in India soon.

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