Nissan to launch Micra and Sunny CVTs

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 02, 2013 05:26 hrs

Japanese automobile major Nissan is planning to launch 10 models in India till financial year 2016.

"Nissan has set a target of 10 per cent market share in India by the end of fiscal 2016. To achieve this target, the company is planning to launch 10 models till 2016 and planning to expand its dealership network to 300 from the current 95. At present, the company's market share in India's passenger vehicle segment is around 1.5-1.6 per cent," Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer, Nissan Motor Company, told Business Standard.

Shiga informed that in 2013-14, Nissan will launch Micra CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), Sunny CVT, compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and its Datsun brand in India.

CVT can provide better fuel economy than other transmissions and it will be more emission friendly also. Shiga claimed that Micra and Sunny CVTs can give 10 per cent better fuel efficiency.

The company also said it will expand its capacity through brownfield and greenfield expansions.

Commenting about company's sales target in India, Shiga said the company was aiming at a more than 50 per cent increase on year on year sale over fiscal 2011.

"Next fiscal, we have set a target of 100,000 vehicle sales in India, which is challenging but the potential is available," said Shiga.

Last year, the company sold around 50,000 units in India.

Shiga added, Nissan's strategic decision to invest in India is for three key reasons - manufacturing, export base and research and development. It may be noted the company exported around 100,000 vehicles from the Oragadam plant to over 80 countries.

On the manufacturing front, the company has invested around Rs 4,500 crore to set up a manufacturing capacity, which can produce up to 400,000 vehicles a year on a three shift basis. The plant was set up at Oragdam, near Chennai along with its French partner Renault.

Takayuki Ishida, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nissan Motor India, Nissan's Indian subsidiary says that the issue of capacity expansion is under study at the group's headquarters in Japan, which includes expanding the existing facility by setting up a new plant in or outside Tamil Nadu.

Currently, the company has a capacity of 200,000 units per annum at RNAIPL. One line is operating in three shifts, and the second line will also be increased to three shifts next year.

Speaking about the Datsun brand, Shiga said, "The Datsun brand will focus on the Indian and Indonesian markets, while the Nissan brand is a global one."

Datsun for India is being designed at the Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre India Pvt Ltd, the research and development outfit for Renault and Nissan in India.

The Datsun car is expected to be priced at around Rs 4 lakh and Ishida refutes any notion that it would be cheap car. " Datsun will target the first time buyers and as the first time buyer wants to upgrade to the next level, the Nissan brand will come into place."

According to Ishida, the company is also mulling the option of having a separate dealership network for the Datsun brand. He did not clearly comment on whether the dealership would be owned by Nissan India or by Hoover Automotive India, the sales company for Nissan vehicles.

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