Nissan Motor Co Ltd momentum to revive its lower-end Datsun brand collapsed, sales have dropped 60 percent over the last five years and its only plant in the country is operating way lower than capacity.
Magnite will be Nissan’s first new vehicle in India in the last two years. Besides, it will be just 1 of 3 Nissan vehicles in the market after two others were drawn in April when harsher emission rules kicked in. Magnite is a sport-utility vehicle Nissan motor Co Ltd last hope to revive the brand in India. Japan’s number second automaker has no plans to withdraw from India, where it has capitalized over $800 million, and the consultations about strategy are going on.
The Datsun brand is expected to be phased out as part of a global service, they added. Nissan’s only other models are three Datsun cars in India. Nissan’s internal plans call for sales of thousand five hundred to two thousand Magnites a month – which if realized would exceed the average India monthly sales it achieved last business year with seven models.
The mini SUV will be priced “in a hostile way”, the sources said without elaborating. Originally manufactured as a Datsun model, it is now projected to have features typically seen in a mid-range car, together with a touchscreen and cruise control. But the market is difficult – demand has been thrashed by the coronavirus pandemic and India’s compact mini SUV segment is crowded. The Magnite will also go head to head with other competitive models from industry leaders like Maruti Suzuki’s Brezza and Hyundai Motor’s Venue.
Nissan has below 1 percent of the Indian market, selling just eighteen thousand vehicles in the last year. Renault sold five times as many as Nissan cars in the country. But Nissan holds 70 percent of its joint venture plant in the Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and exported eighty thousand vehicles from the plant in the last business year, five times more than Renault.
The automakers are in talks for Renault to increase its stake in the plant, which can build four lakhs cars per year. Nissan did not answer requests for the note on the stake sale talks or existing utilization rates. Renault also did not answer back to requests for comment on the talks.