After venturing into the volume based A-segment entry-level hatchback space with the Datsun GO, Nissan is now eyeing the sub-Alto segment with a new product that will be priced little above the Rs. 2 lakh mark and will compete with the Tata Nano. Nissan India has been working on a new entry-level car that will be positioned under the Datsun brand as a volume-model for the Japanese automaker and will also be shared by French partner Renault. Priced lower than the GO, the new low cost vehicle will foray into a segment with limited products from other manufacturers.
Nissan confirmed that the entry-level vehicle is being developed on a new platform in collaboration with Renault in India and will be manufactured in the country with nearly 100 percent localisation. While Nissan will sell the vehicle under the Datsun brand, Renault will work out its independent strategy and is likely to plonk the diamond badge on the model. Nissan and Renault were also earlier working with Bajaj Auto to create a low cost entry-level vehicle, but things did not work through after differences between the partners led to a fall out.
Nissan also stated the company will export the low cost vehicle out of India to other emerging markets. The automaker is eyeing to capture at least 10 percent of market share in India from the current 2 percent and is looking forward for volumes to come from the Datsun brand. In a bid to foray into emerging markets, the Japanese car maker revived the defunct Datsun brand that would spawn low cost volume products, while Nissan has been positioned as a premium brand with the Micra Active, its most affordable product in India.
Datsun first launched the GO hatchback in the country at a price of Rs. 3.12 lakhs to rival the Maruti Alto and the Hyundai Eon in the segment. Despite a potent vehicle with a frugal engine, the lack of dealer network has been a huge deterrent in the sales of the model. Apart from the hatchback, Nissan will also launch the GO based MPV ‘GO+’ in the country to rival the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Chevrolet Enjoy and the Honda Mobilio in the segment. No timeline was confirmed for the launch of the new sub-Alto vehicle.