Nissan India sells six cars in India: the Micra hatchback, the Sunny sedan, the Evalia MPV, the Teana sedan, the X-Trail SUV and the 370Z Sportscar. All these cars are global products that Nissan has developed at its Research and Development facilities outside India. While Nissan has extensively tested all these products in India before launch, the real development process for these cars has happened outside the country. In the future though, all this could change. Betting big on India, the Japanese car maker is bolstering its R&D wing in India. The car maker plans to roll out its first developed-in-India car by 2018.
This car will be developed entirely in India and will be tailor made to suit the Indian car buyers’ preference and Indian road conditions. To achieve this, Nissan India plans to invest heavily on its R&D division stationed at Chennai by stepping up hiring in a big way. Nissan plans to double the number of people engaged in R&D by hiring over 2,000 engineers. Currently, Nissan has about 2,000 engineers working on its current range of products and the upcoming Datsun range of low cost small cars. The first hatchback in the Datsun range will be showcased later this year.
The Datsun range of low cost small cars will be tweaked suitably for the Indian car market even as Nissan has global ambitions for the Datsun brand, what with the cars being developed to be sold across a wide range of emerging markets like India, Indonesia and Russia for starters. In 2014, Nissan will launch two Datsun cars in India. The first car in Datsun’s Indian range will be a re-engineered version of the previous generation Nissan Micra hatchback. The car, codenamed K2, will be positioned in the INR 3-4 lakh rupee space, taking on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki WagonR and the Hyundai i10.
The second Datsun small car will be launched by the end of 2014 and is codenamed the i2. The i2 will be positioned lower than the K2 at a price point between INR 2-3 lakhs. Both Datsun cars will feature a high level of localization to keep the initial cost and spare part costs low. Eventually, the Datsun range could be exported from India to many parts of the developing world where the demand for such cars is high.