‘The changes in the new Sunny reflect Nissan’s promise to improve its overall operations.’

Chikuya Takada, head – product planning, Nissan Motor India, on how the new Sunny starts a fresh phase for Nissan in India. He speaks to Sumantra B Barooah, who test-drove the new Sunny recently.

By Sumantra B Barooah calendar 03 Jul 2014 Views icon3686 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘The changes in the new Sunny reflect Nissan’s promise to improve its overall operations.’

Chikuya Takada, head – product planning, Nissan Motor India, on how the new Sunny starts a fresh phase for Nissan in India. He speaks to Sumantra B Barooah, who test-drove the new Sunny recently.

The earlier Sunny got off to a good start but sales tapered later. What is the market feedback you received on that model and what steps have you taken in the new Sunny to bring the brand back to a healthy position or, even better its earlier best performance?
After the introduction of the Sunny, we got very good numbers and very good feedback from the customers. Unfortunately, we had turbulence during 2012-13. I can’t specify any but much turbulence happened. So, now we are shifting gear (in business operations). The shift is not like CVT transmission, but like a manual transmission with big shift shocks. We are changing shockingly! We are directly handling the business. So, the information from the road (market) is more direct like the GTR or the 370Z!
We can now accelerate or brake ourselves. That is the first big change. Secondly, especially with regard to the Sunny, we got feedback about our competitors’ movement. Obviously, all the competitors are doing Kaizen or a revolution (in their products). So the Sunny cannot stop and we decided to improve the product every year. I think the changes in the new Sunny are recognised as Nissan’s promise to improve our product, communication sales and services quality. If the customer sees the changes, we will be very happy.

Most of the changes in the Sunny are aesthetic but you have improved fuel efficiency too. How did you achieve it without any mechanical change? Was there any weight reduction?
We are putting the priority on safety and fuel efficiency. Most of our customers pay attention to fuel efficiency. Last June we introduced CVT in the Sunny which helped it offer better mileage. This time around, we decided to improve the diesel variant’s fuel efficiency. We found the margin to optimise and found the best balance in the ECU mapping. We achieved it without compromising the power, torque output of the engine. A five percent improvement in fuel efficiency cannot be achieved only by weight reduction. We will have to reduce weight by around 500 kilograms to achieve such improvement in fuel efficiency!

Is it possible to introduce the CVT in the diesel variant also?
The combination of CVT and our K9K engine doesn’t exist. So, that’s a challenge. It will require huge investment if we are to do it. But if we see great demand for it, then why not?

AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) seems to be gaining ground in India. Are you looking at AMTs in Nissan’s India portfolio?
Yes, I think so. AMTs are affordable and also offer the same mileage (as manual transmission). I think AMT is the right technology for the B or B+ segment of small hatchbacks. Yes, I think the AMT has good opportunity for the future. We are carefully watching our competitors’ movements.

 

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