With new model launch every year, Nissan revises strategy for India

Japanese automaker Nissan plans to launch one new product every year, starting with a compact SUV, as part of its revised strategy for a turnaround in the Indian market, a top company official said on Monday.

The company, which has so far failed to make an impact in the market, now plans to focus primarily on the Nissan brand in the country and introduce multiple products with different body styles, including SUVs and sedans, going ahead instead of depending only on its SUV lineage as part of an earlier plan announced in 2018.

It will also continue with Datsun brand, with focus on providing value proposition to the customers.

"We plan to launch at least one new product every year going forward. The first product is going to be an all-new compact SUV which would be rolled out in the first quarter of the next financial year," Nissan Motor India Managing Director Rakesh Srivastava told reporters here.

The company would launch multiple products in order to build a profitable and sustainable business in the country, he added.

Currently, Nissan sells six models in India under both Nissan and Datsun brands.

Commenting on the new product, Srivastava said the model has been designed in Japan keeping in mind requirements of the Indian market.

"Globally, we have a range of SUV products. We are now looking to enhance our commitment to the market by coming out with a new offering in the B-SUV space (sub four metre compact SUV)," he noted.

The company currently sells Kicks and Terrano SUVs in the C-SUV segment (one above B-SUV). It is only selling around 300 units of Kicks per month, while Terrano sales remain miniscule.

Srivastava said the company has gained useful insights from the Kicks and that would help the company introduce the new product in the market.

When asked to comment on future of Datsun brand in the country, Srivastava added that the company would keep selling value products under the brand while focusing on high-selling SUV models under the Nissan lineage.

He added the headquarters has left the responsibility of the Datsun brand to hosting nations.

Earlier, it has been reported that Nissan was looking to discontinue the Datsun brand globally as part of a cost-efficiency exercise.

He said the brand still has relevance in the Indian market, accounting for about 70 per cent of Nissan India's sales and is planning "product interventions" in future to strengthen it further.

In September 2018, Nissan had announced its MOVE 2022 strategy under which it looked to position Nissan as premium mainstream brand in India building on the company's SUV heritage. It had kicked off the strategy with the launch of SUV Kicks last year.

Under the MOVE 2022 strategy it had looked to fix its business operation in India along with Saudi Arabia, where it has made significant investment but hasn't had much success.

Under the strategy, the company had said it would address the mass market segment in India with its Datsun brand.

Asked if the change in the Indian market strategy has to do with the issues faced by the Renaul-Nissan alliance in global level, Srivastava replied in the negative.

It is all due to the changing landscape in the market, which has evolved so rapidly and the company has to keep in pace with it, he added.

When asked to comment on sales outlook for the coming financial year, he said that the company would like to grow in tune with the industry, which is expected to post "single-digit" growth.

On the company's BS-VI transition, Srivastava said Nissan will not offer small diesel engines but is currently working on its line-up for both petrol and bigger diesel engine vehicles to comply with the new emission norm.



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