The Nissan Micra is the Japanese company’s entry level car in India. The Micra is a very competent car but hasn’t sold much in India as people used to find it feminine. To resolve this, Nissan gave the Micra a comprehensive facelift recently, which has transformed the styling of this hatchback (the pictures here show the difference between the old and new Micra). In spite of the updated Micra being a vastly improved product in several areas, sales of the car have dropped last month to 829 units from 1989 units in June. Nissan’s overall sales have dropped by a massive 58.53% MoM and 64.81% YoY.

So what is causing this poor show at the box office for Nissan? The company’s approach of trying to premium price everything. The Micra is one of the poorest selling hatchbacks in India. Any marketing book will tell you that either you beat the market leader on price or on value, but the Nissan Micra fails to do both. The market leader is obviously sitting at the top of the premium hatchback segment since the very day it set foot on Indian soil, the Maruti Suzuki Swift. Last month, Maruti sold 10,461 units of the Swift, which although quite a decline is still way ahead of its competitors.

While the Nissan Micra does provide value by offering more features but it simply doesn’t offer the same level of performance as the Swift. Not only does the Swift come with better engines, it is also dynamically better than the Micra. The cherry on the top is Maruti Suzuki’s wide dealer reach. Do you know Nissan has just three dealers in Mumbai? Even Fiat has more and they have just started to put up a dealership network. If you observe closely, many Nissan dealerships have closed down lately, so the company needs to resolve this first before thinking of blockbuster hits with lacklustre service support.

Nissan also needs to understand it can’t price its cars more than the market leader. The Swift is priced between Rs. 5.30 to 8.30 lakhs while the Micra is priced between Rs. 5.69 to 8.58 lakhs. Does Nissan think customers will opt for the Micra over the Swift by paying more? Certainly not. Yes the Micra Active comes in cheaper but the petrol engine used by Nissan is a real disappointment. The 3-pot unit offers no performance whatsoever. In spite of the Micra Active being so attractively priced, sales of the Micra continue to disappoint.

Even the Nissan Sunny has stopped selling as well as it used to before. Last month Nissan sold just 367 units of the Sunny and their total sales were just 1225 units. The Evalia might move like music but it does not move out of showrooms with just 22 units sold last month. With the Terrano around the corner, we don’t expect any shot in the arm for the company’s sales. Hopefully new products and improved dealer network do the trick for this Japanese automaker. Probably Nissan is betting big on Datsun but remember, the Go will not sell well if Nissan doesn’t address its service network.

Old vs New Nissan Micra