Nissan to leverage SUV heritage to revive fortunes in India

Nissan to leverage SUV heritage to revive fortunes in India

Bhuj: Japanese auto major Nissan is leveraging on its SUV heritage as the brand seeks a 'renaissance' in India, a senior company official said Tuesday.

Nissan, which last launched a totally new product under the brand in India way back in 2013 when it brought Terrano, is planning to kick off its revival journey in the market with the launch of compact SUV Kicks in January.

"We (Nissan) have got great SUV heritage and DNA. It seems appropriate that the first vehicle in our renaissance is an SUV," Nissan India vice president (marketing) Peter Clissold told PTI here.

He said the company will start booking for its upcoming Kicks SUV from Friday and deliveries in January.

"Kicks is our first all-new vehicle in the market in some time. It is going to be introduced in C-SUV segment, a growing but a competitive segment," Clissold added.

The new model from Nissan will compete with the likes of Hyundai Creta and S-Cross from Maruti Suzuki, which are priced in the range of Rs 8.85 lakh and Rs 15.1 lakh.

When asked about Nissan's plans for expanding its product portfolio in India, he said, "We are looking at all segments - both above and below the Kicks. You will see a good range of SUVs in Nissan line up in future".

On whether the company's product future line up will be driven by SUVs, Clissold said, "I wouldn't say exclusively SUV, but we will leverage on our strong SUV credentials as we look at the product plans in India.

"I expect to see an expansion of SUV line up, but Nissan isn't an SUV brand exclusively, including in India."

Earlier in September this year, Nissan had announced its new strategy for India by positioning Nissan in the upper end, building on the brand's global SUV heritage, while the Datsun brand will address the mass market segment.

"The company has made a significant investment in India and this (Kicks) is the first fruit of that labour," he said.

The new model, designed specifically for the Indian market, will be available in petrol and diesel fuel options powered by 1.5 litre engines.

On the expectations from Kicks, Clissold said, "We want to be an attractive player in that segment. Ultimately, it will be up to the Indian consumers as to what market share we gain".

The segment is dominated by Hyundai Creta with more than 50 per cent of market share, while S-Cross is at second position, he said adding, "We don't have a specific volume target".

Reiterating the need to reconnect with buyers, he said, "We will take one step at a time. First step is bookings, and then sales to a consumer who hasn't been to a Nissan showroom for sometime".

Nissan has not been able to crack Indian market so far. In the April-November period this fiscal, the company had sold 25,353 units in the country, down 28.12 per cent from same period of last fiscal.