Nissan, the Japanese automobile company came to Indian market in 2005 with the Completely Built Unit of its SUV, the X-Trial. With little knowledge about the market, the marque spent the first few years in establishing a decent dealership network and manufacturing facility through the support of Hover Automotive India and its global partner Renault. After five years of its journey in India, Nissan launched its first hatchback Micra in 2010.
The sales numbers were pretty decent and Micra along with Sunny managed to provide an introduction to the brand in India. But the efforts did not make the Japanese auto giant a major player in the country. Under the shadow of hot selling cars like Maruti Suzuki Swift, Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 and Hyundai i10, the Nissan hatchback did not manage to takeaway large share. Realising the needs of Indian consumers, the marque made few changes to its hatchback portfolio by introducing the upgraded version of Micra. Being price at Rs. 4.8 lakh, it was not this new Micra that arrested spotlight. The Micra Active, which was launched along with the upgraded new Micra, made headlines because of its low pricing.
While the upgraded Nissan Micra is built around the theme of sportiness, style, aggression and comfort, the Micra Active has come out as a young, enthusiastic small car which realises the needs of consumers well. With a modified bumper, black door handles and ORVM and blackened headlamp surrounds the small car looks more appealing. This design also involves cost cutting since the black coloured handles and ORVM cost lower than body coloured ones. The dashboard for this small car has undergone changes in design to carve a difference between high-end Micra and this automobile. Although the interior looks plain, the equipment, materials and trims are put together neatly to give a cosy feel during each drive. While there is compromise in use of quality materials Nissan has not forgotten to include some essential safety equipment like ABS and airbags.
The launch of this car may be indicating that Nissan is trying to cater to needs of basic consumers in India but many people in the industry also call this to be a sample before the launch of its renowned Datsun brand in the country. Whatever may be the steps taken by company in future, but through Micra Active Nissan has surely put its cars closer to common man in India. Thanks to this launch and other ad campaigns Nissan has registered sales hike during the month of July 2013. This growth is a positive note for the company since the Indian auto segment is going through tough times as of now. Heads at Nissan believe that expanding dealership network will play a crucial role for the growth of company in future. With less than 100 dealerships in hand, Nissan’s current market share in India is less than 2 percent.
With the launch of Datsun Go in early 2014, a series of models are expected from the Japanese house in the next few years. The vision of Carlos Ghosn who is the Chairman and CEO of Nissan, Japan, seems to be clear. Under his leadership Nissan is looking forward to have better business opportunities in growing markets like India, Indonesia and Russia. If everything works according to the plans, many more customer-centric models similar to Datsun Go and Nissan Micra Active in India can be expected from the auto maker and with these models developing markets will be contributing about 60 percent of total global sales for Nissan in next three years.