Nissan Kicks to headline brand’s new India strategy

6th Sep 2018 4:45 pm

Besides confirming the Kicks SUV for India, the carmaker will also focus on expanding its dealership network and enhancing the Nissan and Datsun brands.

Nissan has revealed plans for its bid to revitalise sales in the Indian market with a new growth strategy based on launching new products, strengthening Nissan and Datsun brands, expanding its dealership network, optimising flexible manufacturing and strengthening its R&D facilities along with its Alliance partners in the country.

The new strategy will see Nissan bring the Kicks SUV to India, as we had reported earlier. It’ll slot above the Terrano in Nissan’s line-up and is expected to share its platform and engine options with its Renault siblings as well, from the 1.5-litre petrol and K9K diesel engines to the CVT automatic on the petrol motor. The Kicks has been spied testing in India on a number of occasions, which has revealed that while the styling and interior bits are same as the left-hand drive models sold aboard, the India-spec model will have a longer wheelbase.

“Nissan is committed to India and has built the foundations to succeed,” said Peyman Kargar, senior vice-president of Nissan Motor Co, Chairman- Africa, Middle East, and India. “Our strategy will strengthen both our brands for our customers across India. The Nissan brand will bring the best of global Nissan products and technology to our customers in India, starting with the Nissan Kicks. For Datsun, we aim to offer compelling products across segments offering value, connectivity and Japanese engineering.”

Nissan’s expansion plans

In FY2018, Nissan Motor India sold a total of 52,796 units (-7.86 percent) in the domestic market and exported 67,829 units (-38 percent). The numbers for the Indian market pale in comparison to global sales figures, where the Japanese brand is steadily heading towards being the world’s third largest manufacturer by 2021.  

Under the new strategy, the Japanese carmaker aims to “bring the best of Nissan’s worldwide line-up to India, building on Nissan’s technological leadership in electrification and connected cars” and build a strong line-up for Datsun as well.

Nissan is also looking to considerably strengthen its dealer network in the country. It plans to double its sales and service touch-points from the current 270 by 2021. It will also expand regional marketing and sales operations teams to four key regions across India, while also developing the Nissan design centre in Chennai to ensure cars meet the rapidly changing expectations of Indian customers.

The company is looking to make gains with digitisation. Nissan’s first Global Digital Hub in Kerala will focus on innovations in mobility to enhance its products worldwide and in India.

Strengthening the Nissan and Datsun brands

Since 2010, the Alliance has invested Rs 6,100 crore in our market and will continue to focus on it in order to further develop its engineering, research and development and manufacturing operations here.

The Alliance is already India’s largest automotive research and development employer through the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre for India in Chennai. Further, the Alliance’s plant in Chennai is a global manufacturing hub exporting to 106 countries.

“In the coming years in India, we will grow and our workforce will shift towards highly skilled jobs to lead the technological changes coming to the auto industry in India,” said Peyman Kargar. “Our aim is to ensure our operations in India are best in class, and that India becomes an even more significant global hub for Nissan and the Alliance in manufacturing, engineering and research and development. Our strategy in India is to invest in talent and people.”

Nissan’s investment in the Indian market will be driven by a three-part plan focused on people, processes and product innovation:

People: This will mean optimise opportunities for transfers and advancement between manufacturing, R&D and other operations for all employees. Nissan will train the plant workforce to prepare for the increased demands of manufacturing next-generation cars; 10% of employees to be trained in the first year.

It will also reinforce flexibility of manufacturing through career mobility between Alliance organisations, recruitment of people with future-technology skills and, in areas where there is a surplus of skills today, offer a voluntary option of financial support for plant employees who wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere. 

Processes: Reduce complexity through greater use of common platforms as part of the Alliance 2022 goal for 9 million cars per year globally to be based on four common platforms by 2022.

Product innovations: Harness opportunities in India from Nissan's global leadership in electrification and connected cars.

Also see:

2018 Nissan Micra, Micra Active launched at Rs 5.03 lakh

Drag Race: Mercedes-AMG GT R vs Nissan GT-R

Datsun Go facelift spied in India

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