Why isn’t the Nissan Evalia selling?

The Nissan Evalia was a vehicle that Nissan was eagerly eyeing to set the sales charts on fire in India. During its launch in end September 2012, Nissan said it expected to sell about 2000-2500 Evalias a month, chalking up some healthy numbers for the company.

But come November 2012, just over a month later, and the Evalia doesn’t seem to have caught on. The Nissan Evalia sold just 195 units in October, with 160 bookings coming in the first two weeks after launch. Cause for concern? Definitely.

nissan evalia review photo

On best-sellers list globally

Look at its performance globally, and it is among the best-sellers in the markets it sells in. In Indonesia, for instance, the Nissan Evalia is the 6th best-selling vehicle, selling over 2,400 units a month, just behind the Suzuki Ertiga, Toyota Avanza and Innova. The Innova for instance sells an average of about 4,100 units in Indonesia and close to 6000 units in India. The Ertiga sells 3,500 units in Indonesia and over 6000 in India. Going by those numbers, the Evalia should easily be hitting 2,500 units a month, right? But sadly, that’s not the case so far in the first month at least.

When CarToq checked with Nissan dealers, they said they have not begun delivering Evalias to customers because Nissan India was late in supplying dealers with the vehicle. Dealers in Bangalore confirmed that they have sold only a few units, while the Delhi dealers said none have been delivered so far. A Bangalore dealer said he had ready stock of two white Evalias, but that he had plenty of bookings for other colours (he didn’t say how many). In Delhi, two dealers said they have bookings, but one would have to wait for at least four weeks for the vehicle, as they didn’t have any stock with them.

What could possibly be wrong?

CarToq also spoke with a Nissan spokesperson who said that production of the Evalia is underway and that deliveries to dealers are taking place this week – refusing to comment on any delays in the production of the vehicle so far. Nissan also didn’t comment on how many bookings of the Evalia it has got so far.

While we sincerely hope that the delays in supplying the Evalia are not long drawn out, the official sales release from Nissan India made no mention of the Evalia sales in October, talking instead of only the Micra and Sunny, and saying “bookings for the Evalia were underway”.

Could it be that the Evalia isn’t getting bookings as expected, as even the dealers didn’t confirm how many bookings they have got. Or is it that customers aren’t keen on the Evalia, and that its shortcomings are turning out to be deal breakers after all? See our summation in the launch report: Nissan Evalia launched at Rs. 8.49 lakh

We think that the features and looks of the Evalia are two factors going against it – not so much the looks, because the Mahindra Xylo, which is priced in a similar range to the Evalia is not attractive either. The Evalia is better than the Xylo in handling, ride quality and fuel economy. The Nissan Evalia is priced between Rs.8.49 lakh and Rs.9.99 lakh. The Xylo on the other hand is priced between Rs.7.50 lakh and Rs.10.52 lakh. Also read: Nissan Evalia vs Mahindra Xylo

What we think are the biggest drawbacks and reason for customers turning away from the Evalia are the non-sliding, non-rolling, butterfly-type middle-row windows and lack of middle-row AC vents – something a lot of customers in India want. India is a hot country, no doubt, and more AC vents offered, the better it is for customers. And then there are those who want windows that open fully, especially taxi operators who charge two kinds of fares – those with AC and without AC. Travelling in an Evalia without AC would prove claustrophobic to passengers. A third, more insignificant reason, could possibly be the scanty service and dealer network for a mass market vehicle. But that’s not stopping the Nissan Sunny from selling an average of over 2,300 units a month!

During our test drive of the Evalia, Cartoq had offered this feedback to Nissan India as well, saying that non-openable middle-row windows are definitely a cause for concern. No AC vents in the second row in any variant too was another cause for concern, which was noted by Nissan, because all the Evalia’s competitors make a big noise about offering these features in their vehicles. We had hoped at that time that by the time the vehicle was launched, Nissan would have made some amends – but sadly it hasn’t and like we had said earlier, we thought the lack of these features would be a deal breaker for many buyers. See our road test verdict: Nissan Evalia road test and review

While production issues may be part of the problem for the scanty sales so far, let’s hope the features we pointed out above aren’t turning out to be deal breakers. Prove us wrong, Nissan. Also see: Nissan Evalia video review.