Nissan unveils Micra; mulls assembling imported cars in India

Nissan unveils Micra; mulls assembling imported cars in India

Geneva: Japan’s Nissan Motor Co on Tuesday unveiled its global compact car ‘Micra’ that will be made only in five countries, including India, while the company said it is mulling to assemble imported cars like sedan Teana and SUV Xtrail at its Chennai plant.

The company will start producing Micra in Thailand first and then in India in May followed by China and Mexico, while the location for the fifth plant is yet to be decided.

“In India we expect to make about 70,000 to 80,000 units in the first year of production, of which only 20 per cent will be for the Indian market and rest will be exported," Nissan Motor Co executive vice-president Collin Dodge told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show.

Micra will start rolling out from the Chennai unit of Renault Nissan by May.

He, however, declined to comment on the possible pricing of the compact car, that is based on its global V platform. It is expected to compete with the likes of Maruti Suzuki ‘Swift´ and Hyundai ‘i20´.

“India will be an export base for this car to over 100 countries, and mostly to the matured markets like Europe," Dodge said.

He added that manufacturing of Micra from the UK would be shifted to India once the company’s India unit starts production.

The sedan version of the car is likely to be rolled out by 2011, while the timeline for a multi-purpose vehicle is yet to be announced.

On the other products that Nissan has in India, Dodge said the company is mulling over assembling the imported vehicles, like sedan ‘Teana’ and SUV ‘Xtrail’, in the country to overcome the heavy burden of import duty.

“We are currently studying the economics of it... the import duty in India is 103% and it is too high," he said.

Last year Nissan had announced to have nine models in India by 2012, of which five would be made locally. It had said that it aimed to achieve a market share of 5.5% in India in the future, which is equivalent to the global market share of Nissan. The Indian car market is at present pegged at over 1.2 million units annually.