Across the world, Japanese car maker Nissan is known as a mid range brand that straddles the segment between low cost brands at one end and high end luxury car brands at the other end. While Datsun is Nissan’s low cost car brand targeted at emerging car markets across the globe, the Japanese car maker sells luxury cars under the Infiniti name plate. India plays host to a thriving luxury car market on the back of the Indian economic growth story over the past couple of decades. This economic growth has led to the proliferation of leading luxury car brands in India like Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volvo. Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Land Rover to name a few.
2013 Infiniti FX50 Crossover used as an illustration
A noticeable feature about the luxury car brands available in India is the fact that all these brands have a European lineage. Though Japan has captured the Indian car buyer’s imagination in the budget car segment, Japanese luxury car brands like Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti is yet to make an entry into the country. While Toyota’s ruled out the Lexus brand for India at least until 2015, we now have Nissan adopting a similar strategy. Nissan’s COO, Mr Toshiyuki Shiga, has now stated that the Japanese car maker would focus on its existing car range in India apart from launching the Datsun range in 2014.
So, the Infiniti brand of luxury cars will not be launched at least for the next couple of years although Nissan hasn’t ruled out launching its luxury brand in the years after 2014. Although Nissan has been in India for over half a decade, the car maker has some work to do in terms of the distribution front given the fact that it still relies on a contractor like Hover Automotive to take care of its distribution network. For now, Nissan seems to have its hands full with the development of the Datsun range of low cost small cars.
Given that the Datsuns are high volume cars aimed at the budget end of the Indian car market populated by brands like Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, Nissan does have its task cut out when it comes to expanding its dealer network. The first of the Datsun hatchbacks will be showcased in the middle of 2013 with the official launch slated to happen in 2014. The second Datsun hatchback will be launched in the second half of 2014.