Nissan Motor Co Ltd has drawn up big plans for its Indian operations. The Japanese car maker plans to increase its market share from 1.5 per cent now to 10 per cent by 2016/17. Speaking to the media in Chennai, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said that this rapid growth would be achieved by launching 10 new models and increasing the number of dealerships from 95 to 300.
This is an ambitious target to achieve for a company that sells just three models today: Micra, a compact; Sunny, a sedan; and Evalia, a multi-utility vehicle. Nissan is struggling to raise the capacity of its manufacturing plant near Chennai. The plant's 400,000 unit capacity is currently shared with Renault in a 70:30 ratio.
Against its capacity of 280,000 units, the company has sold 33,000 units in India in 2012/13 (to date) and has exported close to 100,000 units. It plans to sell 50,000 units in India by the close of this financial year and hopes to raise domestic sales to 100,000 units in 2013/14.
Shiga noted that India plays a critical role in Nissan's Power 88 strategy, whereby the company plans to get a global market share of 8 per cent (from 6 per cent now) and increase corporate operational profit to 8 per cent (now 6.2 per cent). For Nissan, India has emerged as a low-cost manufacturing base. It has invested Rs 4,500 crore in the manufacturing facility and cars manufactured in the plant are exported to 81 countries.
Among the 10 new models that will be launched are continuous variable transmission versions of the Micra and Sunny, a compact SUV and a Datsun model. The Datsun will be positioned as a car that is easily accessible in terms of price, offering a low cost of ownership. It is currently being developed in India and 2,000 engineers are working on its development at the company's R&D facility. "It is not a cheap car. We know cheap cars don't sell in India. It will be a value-for-money car," said Toru Hasegawa, Corporate Vice-President, Africa, Middle East and India, Nissan Motor Company.