CEO of Nissan Motor India hinted at a new compact SUV based on Renault Duster
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Nissan Motor India Private Limited (NMIL) has expressed its desire of developing a compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) on the tracks of its global alliance partner Renault's much-acclaimed SUV Duster for the Indian auto industry. The speculations began when Nissan Motor India's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) Takayuki Ishida quoted, “We’re interested in the SUV market, and we need to have a good product. Globally, we have a lot of choice. But to arrive at a good price range, we would need to localise. Using the Duster platform is one of the options we are looking at.”.
The Indian subsidiary of world's sixth largest auto maker aspires to offer domestic buyers a complete portfolio of cars, comprising a line-up right from hatchbacks to SUVs. Addition of a compact SUV to the existing fleet will provide some genuine credibility to Nissan and a good range of options to the buyers in domestic market. Reportedly, NMIL is looking forward to cash on the unexpected surge in UV sales, which grew 54 per cent and amounted to 1.62 lac units between April and July this year.
Besides the anticipated launch, Nissan Motor has also confirmed to introduce a new Multi Utility Vehicle (MPV), Evalia, for the Indian auto market in September this year. Post launch, Evalia will accompany the X-Trail SUV, a standalone contender from Nissan in its Indian SUV line-up. With 10,000 Dusters being booked in its first month, Evalia will be entering the market at a very interesting phase.
Reportedly, the move does not come as a surprise because earlier, the Renault-Nissan alliance had achieved successful cost cutting measures in product manufacturing and development processes. Building a new product on an existing vehicle platform saves a lot of time and fresh investment. The sharing of similar components and automotive parts along with engines facilitate cost reduction in the manufacturing process, which ultimately leads to lower production cost in every unit being rolled out. The move happens to be much more helpful to the alliance in regard of an accelerated product launch.
Alliance between the two auto majors has been successful in producing re-modelled Nissan Micra hatchback with some changes in the original platform of Pulse. A revamped model of Sunny with some minor cosmic modifications, named as Renault 'Scala' will also sparkle at the Indian shores soon.
Renault-Nissan venture has also expressed its aim to ramp-up production at its Chennai facility. Reportedly, the alliance is in talks with Gujarat government for the possibility of establishing a new plant there. In January 2012, it was reported that the venture between the two auto makers is hoping a two-fold in its production process, making the final output to eight lacs units every year by 2016.
Ishida further added, “From the Nissan headquarters some people came and talked to some local Governments and discussed plans to invest. This is something we always do. Currently, we have about 4 lacs capacity at the Chennai plant. Right now, we’re preparing to start the third shift.”
Presently, the Chennai plant of the company rolls out four lacs vehicles per year and is under much pressure. With the addition of Renault Duster and Scala in the portfolio and Nissan's Evalia to join the family soon, the company’s manufacturing facility is expected to run short the process in a couple of years. Besides, Nissan's value aimed project, 'Datsun' is slated for 2014 release in India and will also impose a great burden over the production process. In the present scenario, Nissan’s compact car Micra and Sunny sedan are manufactured at the Chennai unit and the Evalia is touted as the third vehicle to be produced at the facility.
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