Business Today

"India is among the most challenging markets"

Jose Roman, Corporate VP & Global Head of Datsun for Nissan Motor tells Chanchal Pal Chauhan that the company is looking at the next level of affordable mobility solutions.
twitter-logo Chanchal Pal Chauhan        Print Edition: August 13, 2017

Q. India remains Datsun's largest market but the full potential is yet to be harnessed. Do you agree?

Datsun is a challenger brand and we have been working hard to compete with established players for three years now. Datsun accounts for more than half of Nissan Motor's total sales in India. We were the fastest-growing single brand in FY17 in India, ahead of well-established OEMs that have been active much longer than we have in this market.

Q. How difficult is it to penetrate the Indian auto market?

India is among the most challenging markets; if you succeed here, you can succeed anywhere. Customers expect good value proposition, stylish design and feature-rich cars. These characteristics make it a very challenging yet interesting market. Keeping this in mind, we decided to offer products which cater to not just the needs but also desires of first-time car buyers. Datsun redi-GO is our response to this market need.

Q. How do you see the emergence of frugally engineered mobility solutions? What changes do you foresee?

Datsun redi-GO was born out of Renault-Nissan Alliance's system of modular vehicle architecture called the Common Module Family. We harnessed the talents of our local India engineering staff to create it, and now we build it at our plant in Chennai. The launch of this model is a demonstration of our ability to enter a very competitive market, where only a few OEMs have succeeded to answer local customers' need for modern, affordable cars.

Q. As the focus shifts to electric cars, are you ready? What's the electric mobility strategy?

Nissan is a pioneer in the development and launch of EVs. The Nissan LEAF, a mass-produced electric vehicle, is the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle. Over 277,000 Nissan LEAFs have been sold since its launch in 2010. Nissan plans to undertake a pilot for feasibility and viability of the EV market in India in partnership with the government and private sector players.

Q. Over three million cars are expected to be sold in India this year. Is Datsun's the right recipe in this massive pie with a miniscule presence?

We believe Datsun is a perfect fit for the Indian car market - especially the entry-level segment. We are a challenger brand, but we are committed to the Indian market and are most definitely here to stay.

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