Nissan shook up the entry-level and mid-size sedan segment with its great value-for-money pricing during its launch on September 20. However, sales have been slightly sluggish thereafter with 659 units only being booked by customers in the past 10 days.
Deliveries are to start this week at its 45 dealers across the country. Now, in contrast, the Toyota Etios chalked up nearly 7,000 in the first week of its launch in December last year. So why has the Sunny been rather slow, considering it actually is a better package overall than the Etios. Read: Nissan Sunny vs Etios vs SX4
The problem is that the current environment for car demand is strongly biased in favor of diesel variants. Nissan has said it will be launching a diesel version of the Sunny in a few months, and that’s when the demand might actually pick up, going by how the demand for competing cars is. Among sedans, the Volkswagen Vento has more than 75% of its sales in diesel. Maruti has more than 60% demand for the SX4 diesel and Hyundai’s Verna has nearly 70% demand for diesel.
The other issue is not with the product, but with the distribution set up that Nissan has and the branding. At present it has 45 dealers across the country, with five more set to start operations soon. Nissan has also recently started advertising the Sunny quite widely in print and television (the “Caaaar” campaign). Nissan is not really a household name in India as much as Toyota or Honda or Maruti (Suzuki) is. And that’s something that the company really needs to build. Also read: Nissan Sunny road test
In an optimistic scenario, if you extrapolate the sales numbers going by the initial bookings, it roughly comes to about 1,800 cars a month. If Nissan manages to achieve and sustain this sales figure, it would be a good start for the car, considering its hatchback sibling the Nissan Micra sold only 1,475 units in September – a level it’s been maintaining over the past few months. Once Nissan adds a diesel engine to the Sunny variants, expect sales of the car to pick up.