Nissan India has not had a very successful run in the country and enjoys a meagre 3 percent market share in the auto market. The automaker first launched the Micra hatchback back in 2010 in the country and simultaneously shifted the hatchback’s manufacturing facility to the Chennai facility, from Sunderland, UK to make way for the Juke crossover. Since then, the company’s major revenues come from their export operations, while the domestic sales have been stagnating.
Now, with Nissan giving time and attention to the Indian market, the automaker plans to cease export operations for the Micra in India to free up capacities at its plant for new products. The automaker will shift the export operations for the next generation Micra, scheduled for launch in 2016 to its French plant and plans to use the Chennai facility to focus on new products that will be rolled out for India. This also means that the Micra will end its run of sales in the country in 2016 when the next generation model comes out and will be replaced with a new model that will address Indian and certain export markets.
The Renault-Nissan alliance set up the Chennai facility that also rolls out models from the both the automakers and has a total installed capacity of 4.8 lakh units. In the last fiscal, the plant churned out 3 lakh vehicles under the Nissan and Datsun brands. Now, with the new models lined up for launch in the future, there won’t be enough capacity at the facility to accommodate the new products. Hence, Nissan has decided it is in the best of interest to let go of the Micra, which constituted around 70 percent of the total 1.16 lakh vehicles exported.
While Renault has had a good run in the country, Nissan has been struggling to gain momentum in terms of sales. The automaker even ended ties with Hover Automotive India, its dealer and service partner and has taken up the task of setting up new dealerships and expanding business for Nissan and Datsun brands. The automaker plans to increase its dealer network from the current 128 to 300 locations by 2016, covering nearly 98 percent of the Indian market.
Nissan India plans to launch a new range of products in India that will be based on the new CMFA platform and are expected to be ready by 2015. The platform will underpin different models from brands like Renault, Nissan and Datsun with the Chennai facility concentrating on the domestic range. The automaker is going all aggressive on its plans and also claims a 166 percent growth in sales in the domestic market in the first quarter of this fiscal. Concrete details on the new products, especially the Micra’s replacement are scarce as of now.