Nissan Motor Corporation recently announced of its plans to shift the next generation Micra’s production base from Chennai to its facility in France. The move comes as the Japanese automaker has planned to launch new products specifically for India in the coming years and wanted to free up space at the Chennai facility to accommodate the production of new models. This also confirmed that while the next generation Micra will be launched by the end of 2016 globally, the hatchback will be retired from its Indian operations and will instead be replaced with an all new model based on an all new platform.
Andy Palmer, CPO and Vice-President Nissan stated that the Micra replacement is expected to cater to the Indian as well as certain export markets and will be produced at the Nissan-Renault alliance plant in Chennai. Moreover, Mr. Palmer added that the Micra replacement could use a different name in India and the product itself will be more India-centric. This also suggests that the Micra replacement in India will be a lot different from the European spec model that will go on sale in 2016. The model is expected to feature more cabin space with more emphasis on rear seat comfort. Using a new name will help Nissan start a new innings in the hatchback segment as the current Micra isn’t a hot-seller as it was expected to be.
The Micra replacement will be based on the new Common Module Family (CMF) Architecture that was announced for India last year and will underpin a range of products from Nissan and Renault as well as the Datsun brand. The CMF platform will ensure that the overall costs of the product is kept low with common parts sharing depending on the modularity. The first product to be based on the CMF architecture will be the Datsun Redi-GO that is scheduled to launch in 2015 and will be positioned below the GO hatchback. Renault will also launch a product based on the CMF platform next year, while taking cues from the Redi-GO as well.
Nissan is anticipating on improving its Indian market share from the current 3 percent with the launch of new products in the coming years. After taking up service and dealership expansion on its own, the automaker plans to have 300 dealership networks across the country from the current 128, covering 98 percent of the market by 2016. Nissan’s Chennai based facility has a total installed capacity of 4.80 lakh units per annum and the automaker is wants to utilise the same in full steam with the advent of new products.