Nissan India plans to launch three new small cars

Nissan India is planning to add three new small cars to its product portfolio to tap into the demand for small cars in the India the next 3 years.

Autocar India reports that Nissan will develop three small cars, code named K2, I2 and K11. The K2 will be launched in December 2012 and will take on the Maruti Wagon R and A-Star and will be priced at around Rs. 3.5 lakh. Nissan will use the same 1.2 litre petrol motor in K2 that already powers the Nissan Micra and the company is also considering a 1.0 litre petrol engine for better fuel efficiency. The K2 is expected to be manufactured with two wheelbases, the shorter version for India and the longer version for export markets.

Nissan is also planning to launch an K-based MPV for the Indonesian market. As per sources in Nissan, the company can save upto Rs. 50,000 by using the K11 platform which will be critical in meeting the stiff target price.

Nissan’s upcoming I2 is expected to lock horns with Maruti Suzuki Alto, which is now the World’s No.1 small car. I2 is developed by Defiance Testing & Engineering, a company based in the U.S. and acquired by Ashok Leyland (AL) in 2007. It has to be noted that Ashok Leyland & Nissan have forged a joint venture to develop small car and now we know that it is I2.

We can expect AL to develop the I2 with major engineering work carried out in the homeland so as to keep the development cost down. As the I2 will target Maruti Alto customers, expect this car to be priced around Rs. 2.5 lakh and could be launched in 2013.

nissan micra sedan photo
Photo: Nissan's global ‘V’ platform car being tested.

Nissan also has a JV with Bajaj and a low cost car will be born out of this. Generally known as the Ultra-Low cost car or ULC, we are yet to know if Nissan will include this car under its product portfolio. But, even without including the ULC, the Japanese carmaker is planning well ahead to enter the mass market with its Micra, K2 and I2. Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors, better watch out!

Nissan also has the option to use Bajaj’s ultra-low cost car (ULC) though it’s not clear if the ULC will form a part of Nissan’s India range. However, with the Micra, K2 and I2, Nissan will have completely covered the budget end of the Indian car market and could pose a formidable challenge to Maruti’s stranglehold.

Meanwhile, the company is likely to reduce prices of its Nissan Micra sedan. It also working to beef up its sales and distribution network in India as that has become a constraint when it comes to maximising sales. Nissan has also launched a diesel variant in December 2010 as diesel cars have been quite popular in India.

Last month, Nissan showcased a new sedan, which is based on its global ‘V’ platform, in China. This car too is likely to be launched in India sometime in 2012.

Apart from Micra, Nisaan’s product range in India includes the X-Trail SUV, Teana luxury Sedan and 370Z sports car – all three imported from Japan as CBU (completely built units). Nissan has also begun exports of made-in-India Micra sedan to more than 100 countries including Europe, Middle East and Africa.