Japanese car maker Nissan is betting big on the Indian car market. The car maker plans to launch no less than 10 new cars by 2016. In 2013 alone, Nissan is looking at launching 3 new cars, all of them aimed at the mass market volumes segment. The first new launch for Nissan in 2013 will be the automatic variant of the Micra, joining the growing club of automatic hatchbacks in the country. The Nissan Micra Automatic will use the 1.2 Liter petrol engine mated to a CVT gearbox. The automatic version of the Micra will compete with the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Ritz Automatic and the Hyundai i20 Automatic hatchbacks.
The second launch for 2013 from Nissan will be the Sunny Automatic, a car that has been caught testing over a year ago. The Sunny Automatic is a C-segment sedan that will use the 1.5 Liter petrol engine mated to a CVT automatic gearbox, a-la-Renault Scala. The 2013 Nissan Sunny Automatic is expected to undercut the Scala Automatic in terms of pricing and could thus be one of the least priced Automatic cars in the Indian C-Segment sedan class, apart from the Maruti Suzuki Dzire Automatic. The Sunny Automatic will take on automatic versions of cars like the Renault Scala, the Honda City, the Maruti Suzuki SX4, the Hyundai Verna, the new Ford Fiesta, the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid.
Coming to the third and possibly the biggest launch of the year for Nissan India, the badge engineered Renault Duster is what the Japanese car maker plans to launch by the end of 2013. Wearing Nissan clothes, the Duster is expected to see a a significant stylistic change, with its looks said to be take inspiration from the X-Trail. The Renault Duster is actually based on the Nissan BO(B-Zero) car platform, a platform that hosts cars like the previous generation Renault Clio and the Logan. So, Nissan launching the Duster under its brand is a kind of homecoming for the SUV.
We expect the Nissan Duster based SUV to be priced lesser than the one sold by Renault. Gauging by the Renault Duster’s big success in India right from word go, Nissan’s Duster based SUV could give the Japanese car maker a big shot in the arm when it comes to volumes. The badge engineered Nissan Duster based SUV is expected to feature both petrol and turbo diesel engines, a -la-Renault Duster. With both Nissan and Renault selling the Duster under different brands in India, this is expected to give the Franco-Japanese car making alliance enough leeway to price the Duster competitively enough to give the upcoming Ford EcoSport a stiff challenge given that the EcoSport is expected to undercut the Renault Duster in terms of pricing in India.
The other important car launches by Nissan India over the next couple of years will be the Datsun brand of low cost small cars. The first car will be based on the previous generation Micra(K11 platform) and is expected to be unveiled as early as the middle of 2013. This car will be positioned in the INR 3-4 lakh segment, challenging the likes of the Maruti WagonR and the Hyundai Santro Xing. The production version will make an appearance at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, where it is expected to be joined by another small car, which will be a lesser priced version primed to compete with the Maruti Alto and the Hyundai Eon in the INR 2-3 lakh segment. Both the Datsun hatchbacks will be launched in 2014 and will be built in India with an emphasis on heavy localization.