Nissan to go premium, unveils luxe SUV 'Kicks'; looks at merging India operations with Saudi Arabia

Mumbai: Japanese carmaker Nissan Thursday unveiled a luxury sports utility vehicle 'Kicks' as it seeks to revive its fortunes in a market where it remains a fringe player even after almost a decade of presence. The new India-specific Kicks, the details of which is yet to be revealed, will be commercially launched in January, said Thomas Kuehl, president, Nissan India Operations.

As part of its Move 2022 global strategy, the Japanese auto major is looking to merge its India operations with Saudi Arabia, where it has made significant investments but again hasn't had much success.

"We are excited and proud to unveil the Kicks, which is a testimony to our commitment to this market. As a part of our India strategy, we will bring in the best of our global products and technologies to our customers here," Kuehl said.

The company is kicking off a new strategy here, Kuehl said, adding the new offering will be their core model for this market as it goes into the next phase of product offensive a premium for a positioning. "We will bring in our global strength (in terms of products) to India. This was something that we did not do before," he admitted.

Nissan's domestic portfolio comprises the Micra Active, Terrano and GT-R while its sister-brand Datsun offers small car Go and Go+. It has discontinued the original small car Micra and the entry-level sedan Sunny some time back.

Nissan currently has a minuscule 1.13 percent market share in the passenger car segment, while it's a negligible 0.68 percent in the utility vehicles segment.

Representative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

Going forward, Nissan will focus on the premium SUV segment here and will have a proper line-up with all its global strength, he said. "We have learnt our lessons in the past four years.
And that is why we have come out with the Move 2022 strategy. We've a very distinctive strategy for both the Nissan and Datsun brands," he said.

The company had last week unveiled updated variants of Go and Go+ as part of its strategy to take the Datsun brand to small towns. "We came into practically in a very competitive segment with two major players dominating...and by only focusing on the me-too rather than having our own identity and our own differentiation," he said, adding, "Nissan this time around just does not want to come to a segment but want to be a dominant player here, challenging the market", Kuehl said.

He said the company will start its B2B e-vehicle business here from the March quarter before entering into the mass market. The company is also aiming to more than double its dealership network to around 600 over the next three years from 287 now, he said.


Updated Date: Oct 19, 2018 10:05 AM

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