When a newly launched car fails to take off in the market like you expected, what do you do? You launch a cheaper variant and hope it gets some traction – well, at least that’s what Nissan’s strategy seems to be. It has launched a base variant of the new Nissan Micra, the Nissan Micra XE diesel, priced at Rs. 5.57 lakh ex-showroom Delhi.
Nissan has really spread itself across price segments now with its Micra range, with the older-design Nissan Micra Active now starting at Rs. 3.5 lakh and topping off at Rs. 4.71 lakh for the safety pack Micra Active XV edition. These are all petrol variants. Then comes the “new”, facelifted Nissan Micra, which starts at Rs. 4.79 lakh going up to Rs. 6.39 lakh for the petro variants including an automatic transmission, while the diesel range now starts at Rs. 5.57 lakh going up to Rs. 7.14 lakh for the fully-loaded XV Premium diesel variant. Also read: Nissan launches refreshed Micra, old variant continues as Active
What has the Nissan Micra XE diesel got?
The Nissan Micra XE diesel comes with a driver’s airbag as standard – which is a good thing. Nissan is actively pushing safety features in its cars. Other features include tachometer, follow-me home headlamps, seatbelt warning, door ajar indicator, manual HVAC, power steering, tilt steering and mullti-information display. At Rs. 5.57 lakh, this car has far more features to offer compared to the Maruti Swift LDI or Maruti Ritz LDI variants and should easily appeal to buyers looking for a value-for-money diesel car with safety features. The Maruti Swift LDI is priced at Rs. 5.59 lakh ex-showroom Delhi and does not offer airbags or even a tachometer. The Maruti Ritz LDI is priced at Rs. 5.42 lakh also doesn’t offer any of these features too.
On the safety front it is better than the newly launched Hyundai Grand i10 entry level diesel variants. The Grand i10 has a starting price of Rs. 5.24 lakh, with hardly any features, even in the Magna variant priced at Rs. 5.44 lakh. However, when you look at the Grand i10 Sportz variant at Rs. 5.83 lakh, the Micra XE loses out on the value for money front.
The Micra XE diesel is powered by a 1.5 litre diesel engine putting out 63 bhp of power at 4000 rpm and 160 Nm of torque at 200o rpm, with a claimed ARAI fuel-efficiency figure of 23.08 kmpl. Also read: Hyundai i20 vs Nissan Micra comparison
Micra sales remain slow
If the Micra is a good all-round car, why haven’t Micra sales caught on then? The problem is one of perception that Nissan’s cars are expensive to maintain and service centres are not easily accessible. This is partly true in terms of part costs for some parts that are imported. Nissan needs to work on its after sales and reach out to customers and capture the minds of enthusiasts if it wants to make a difference .
Despite having 12 variants of the Micra across the Active and new Micra range, the car sold only 1,562 units last month, up from 829 the previous month, but not any more than the average it has been selling for the past three years. Last 12 months average sales for the Micra have been about 947 units. The previous year’s figures were better at an average of 1,404 cars a month! And that was with just six variants of the older Micra! Doesn’t look like pushing in more variants is really helping things. Or does it?