Nissan India is on a roll with a growth of 328 percent in the sales department for the month of April 2014 over April 2013. The company sold 5,301 units against the 1,239 units of last year and majority of the sales come courtesy of the recently launched Datsun Go which accounted for 2,691 units.
Datsun Go has just touched the 5,000 units sales mark in almost two months of its launch. It was launched as a rival to the likes of Alto 800 and Eon which sell roughly 20,000 and 10,000 units respectively. That tells a tale, doesn’t it?
2,500 units a month on an average definitely seems to be on the lower side for a car which is present in such a high volume segment. With the mid range and top end models costing Rs 3.46 and Rs 3.69 lakhs (ex-showroom) respctively, the Go ventures into Wagon R’s territory which has been a best seller in the Rs 3.5-4.5 lakh bracket.
It may be remembered that Nissan managed to put a similar number of Micra B+ segment hatchbacks on Indian roads during the first few months of the car’s launch in India with a smaller dealership footprint than it has currently. This angle makes the Datsun Go look even more dismal at the hustings.
Also, Nissan promoted the Datsun Go much more aggressively than it did in the run up to the Micra’s launch. The automaker held roadshows at over 100 cities across the country in the run-up to the Go’s launch in India. A pay off is yet to be seen although it is too early to write the Go off.
So, why is the Datsun Go not bringing in the big volumes for Nissan India?
One reason for the the low sales of Go could be because of the small dealership network Nissan has compared to the likes of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, which are the leaders in the entry level segment and also in terms of having the best reaches in both urban and rural markets.
Nissan, in contrast, does not have a strong Tier 2 and Tier 3 presence which has restricted the sales quite a bit. However, the company is working on expanding the dealership network. The current dealers have expressed interest in opening up exclusive Datsun dealerships and Nissan will be arriving at a decision regarding this by the end of May.
Nissan will launch its Go+ MPV towards the fag end of this year which is expected to be another volume puller for the automaker and it will be followed up by the launch of sub-Go RediGo hatchback next year. So having exclusive dealerships for Datsun would start to make quite a bit of sense when the new products arrive.
The Japanese car maker also needs to work on its after sales and service network if it plans on grabbing that 10 percent share it has been aiming in India by 2020. The company has begun in right earnest by taking over marketing, dealer development and distribution functions from Hover Automotive. Nissan’s actual performance on the ground will only be revealed in the times to come.