Nissan to launch low budget edition of Micra, squaring off against Hyundai i10
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In an attempt to reinforce its market position in the small car segment of Indian auto industry, the Japanese car maker, Nissan is working on a toned-down variant of its successful hatchback Micra. Presently, the hatchback comes with a price tag of Rs. 4.21 lacs for XE variant, the base model. The cut-price model, codenamed G02A, will cost around Rs. 50,000 less than the actual price. Yet-to-be launched model in Indian auto market is already put on sale in Japan as ‘Nissan March’.
According to a company official, seven new models are lined-up by Nissan in coming four to five years. In Indian market, the car maker introduced its Micra with petrol engine across all its three variants, namely XE, XL and XV. The 1.2 litre DOHC 12 valve, 3 cylinder petrol unit incorporated within Micra has a displacement of 1198 cc and can generate maximum power of 74 hp at 6,000 rpm and 104 Nm of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. In order to enhance the performance of this engine, Nissan has mated it to a 5 speed manual gearbox which offers easy switching between the gears.
Later on, Nissan added a diesel variant in its Micra range incorporating a 1.5 litre SOHC, 8 valve, 4 cylinder common rail motor. This unit was built to produce 62 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 160 Nm of highest torque. The diesel variant was evidently more powerful than its petrol sibling and was offered in two variants, namely XV and XV premium.
In order to offer a new variant with bargained price, Nissan may decide to leave out several standard features provided within original Micra such as driver side airbag, adjustable steering wheel and digital clock. All the abovementioned features are currently featuring in XE variant of Micra. It is also anticipated that the new variant may also replace the adjustable head rests on the front seats with that of low quality, used in cars like Etios. The new cut-price model falling in sub-four lacs category will assist the manufacturer to compete against the likes of Hyundai i10, which costs around Rs. 3.65 lacs (ex-showroom, Delhi). Presently, the average monthly sales volume of Micra floats around 1,500 units which are expected to pace up with the launch of new Nissan Micra G02A.
However, the ultra competitive small car market of India is quit unpredictable and it cannot be ascertained how the new petrol car will perform in the country. It is a no-brainer to comment that it would be beneficial for the car maker to launch the toned-down model of diesel Micra instead. The Japanese car seems to be of entirely different opinion as it is planning to launch the new cut-price Micra variant in petrol option in the early months of 2013.
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