Nissan Micra sedan may be called Sunny

After the hatchback’s success, Nissan will now unveil the highly anticipated Micra-based sedan, rumoured to be called Sunny, at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2010 in December.

Now, the name Sunny carries a lot of history behind it—Nissan has been selling compact cars named Sunny in markets abroad since 1966. However, in India the rights for that name are held by Bajaj Motors (remember the piddly 60 cc Bajaj Sunny scooter which has now been discontinued?). Hence, Nissan is unlikely to use the same name for the sedan when its launched in India during the second half of 2011.

Based on V-platform

nissan micra front photo
Photo: Nissan Micra looks retro-ish

The Nissan Sunny will be built on the company’s global V-platform—the same architecture on which the popular Micra hatchback is based. The V-platform allows versatility in chassis and design to suit emerging auto markets such as India and China as well as sophisticated European markets. In terms of pure benefits, the V-platform helps Nissan to drastically reduce a car’s weight along with the number of components needed—in effect cutting down production costs.

Two engine options

Both petrol and diesel engine variants will be offered. The petrol engine will likely be a 1.5-litre unit that would belt out roughly 100 hp. Nissan may bring out a similar spec for the upcoming Micra diesel as well. Nissan India MD and CEO Kiminobu Tokuyama recently announced that the diesel Micra will be launched by the end of this year. Read a short road test of the Nissan Micra.

What’s the competition?

In India, the Nissan Sunny will lock horns with the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and Tata Indigo Manza. Nissan may share the Micra’s interior panels and parts to cut production costs and to price the sedan competitively.

Nissan Micra Sales

The Nissan Micra was launched on July 15 and has registered decent sales figures so far. The company recently reported 4,500 bookings and sales of 1,256 units in September. The total sales stood at 3,293 units after the first 75 days of launch.

Just to jog everyone’s memory, the Nissan Micra is powered by a three-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol engine and returns a mileage of 18.06 kmpl according to ARAI. Prices announced at launch were Rs 3.98 lakhs for the Micra XE (base model), Rs 4.69 lakhs for the XL (mid-range model) and Rs 5.28 lakhs for the XV (top-end, fully loaded variant)—all ex-showroom Delhi. Nissan has also scaled up Micra’s production to reduce the car’s waiting period, which is approximately two months now.

On October 5th, Nissan exported 3,866 Micra cars from its Oragadam factory near Chennai. Nissan’s target is to export 1.1 lakh units in the financial year 2011 to over 100 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Nissan and French partner Renault seem to be making the right moves to establish their brand and expand market share. Nissan is aggressively increasing its dealership network. And as part of Nissan’s after-sales commitment, the company has introduced a host of customer care and service schemes, including roadside assistance and extended warranty.