New Magnite brings the buzz back in Nissan showrooms

by Mayank Dhingra 02 Feb 2021

Nissan Motor India, which has little to show in terms of passenger vehicle market share, has reasons for cheer with its latest offering in the compact SUV space – Nissan Magnite – drawing huge consumer interest.

The budget-friendly crossover, which undercuts rivals by as much as Rs 190,000, ex-showroom, is seeing customers queuing for this make-or-break model for the Japanese carmaker in India, which currently has a minuscule 0.37% PV market share and 0.26 utility vehicle market share.

Nissan Motor India is understood to have despatched 4,527 units of the Magnite in January, registering a 220 percent year-on-year uptick in sales volumes compared to 1,413 units sold in the same month last year. In December 2020, it had despatched 560 Magnites and also exported five units. A total of 1,974 Magnite were produced in December.

The Magnite is a value-for-money offering in the B-SUV segment wherein it squares off against the likes of the segment leader Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, and good sellers such as the Hyundai Venue, Ford EcoSport and the hot-selling Kia Sonet.

Nissan’s value card can be understood to have done the trick for the Magnite’s growing popularity, which is drawing customers especially first-time buyers and those on a budget, flocking to the carmaker’s 150-odd touchpoints across the country for the compact crossover. Seeing the momentum build-up, the company also refrained from implementing a price hike to the introductory price of the car, in order to gain more customers in a highly-competitive market.

On January 4, just a month after its market launch, Nissan Motor India had claimed receiving up to 33,000 bookings of the Magnite, with waiting periods soaring as high as four months in some cities.

At the time, the carmaker announced plans to ramp up production at its 480,000 units-per-annum plant in Chennai and also employ an additional 1,000 workforce to to bring down the wait times to up to two to three months.

The Magnite, which comes priced between Rs 549,000 and Rs 959,000, ex-showroom, has two engine options – a 1.0-litre 72bhp naturally-aspirated petrol, and a 1.0-litre 100bhp, turbocharged petrol. The engines either get 5MT or 5MT or CVT as gearbox options, respectively.

The crossover also offers segment-first features such as a 360-degree camera, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and CVT transmission. While Nissan Motor India is witnessing a revival with the Magnite, it is soon to find in-house competition with alliance partner Renault all set to introduce its Renault Kiger crossover, based on the same platform as the Magnite, and aiming to take the price wars to the next level.

The competitive compact SUV segment is headed for an exciting time in 2021. How well the Magnite, with Nissan India's limited retail infrastructure and concerning aftersales support, fares against many rivals in the long run, remains to be seen. But for now, the Magnite is drawing car buyers like a magnet. 

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