Nissan planning to launch low-cost Micra by March

The Nissan Micra is not a car that first comes to mind when you think of a premium hatchback, although it is a fairly fuel efficient and capable car, especially the diesel Micra. However, with the increase in diesel prices and the expected turn in demand back to petrol cars, Nissan is looking to grab more market share in India.

Autocar India published a scoop image of what they say is a low-cost variant of the Nissan Micra codenamed G02A that is likely to launch in March this year. The Nissan Micra currently comes in five variants, with the base petrol Nissan Micra XE priced at Rs. 4.23 lakh and the top-end Micra XV Premium diesel priced at Rs. 6.43 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. Also read: India’s most-exported cars

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Image courtesy: AutoCarIndia.com

The base petrol Micra XE is powered by a 1198 cc, three-cylinder petrol engine putting out 75 bhp of power and 104 Nm of torque, with a five-speed manual transmission. It is quite barebones as it is, so it’s unclear what features will be knocked off to make for an even cheaper variant. The price is expected to be hacked by about Rs. 70,000, which would put the base Micra at just over Rs. 3.5 lakh, bang in the middle of Maruti Wagon-R territory, undercutting the Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo and Honda Brio, which are its traditional rivals.

From the scoop picture published, only the tail-lamps appear to be different. It still has body-colored bumpers, which is a good thing. On the interiors, the seat headrest design may be altered, opting for a cheaper single piece seat. It won’t have any airbags (the current Micra offers a driver’s airbag on all variants). It will hopefully have manual air-conditioning and power steering retained, as these are essentials for a car in its segment (Toyota does not offer power steering with the base Toyota Etios Liva).

The Nissan Micra has been posting pretty lackluster sales month on month in India, although it has healthy exports. In the last three months, sales have averaged only about 740 units a month, which is not a patch on its competitors. The Hyundai i10 sold an average of 8,600 cars a month in the same period, while the Honda Brio sold an average of about 2,730 cars a month in the same period. This low-cost variant may try and push up things a bit, but Nissan will probably be counting on its upcoming low-cost car brand, Datsun, to revive the low-end of the market. Also read: Nissan to revive Datsun brand in India

Source: AutoCar India