Nissan looks to Kicks-start growth in India, reveals new strategy

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 06 Sep 2018


The Kicks SUV will be the first of a number of new products Nissan plans to launch in India.

In a bid to re-energise its fortunes in India, Japanese carmaker Nissan has announced a new growth strategy that will see the company launch new products, strengthen the Nissan and Datsun brands, expand its dealership network, optimise flexible manufacturing and strengthen R&D facilities together with its Alliance partners in the country.

In FY2018, Nissan Motor India sold a total of 52,796 units (-7.86%) in the domestic market and exported 67,829 units (-38%), clearly not good going for the company in a country which is speedily driving towards being the world’s No 3 by 2021.  

Under the new India strategy, the carmaker aims to “bring the best of Nissan’s worldwide line-up to India, building on Nissan’s technological leadership in electrification and connected cars” and build a strong line-up for Datsun in India. The company is set to launch the Kicks SUV in the first quarter of 2019; the Kicks will be slotted above the Terrano in the company's India model line-up.

Nissan is also looking to considerably strengthen its all-India dealer network. By 2021, it plans to double its sales and service touch-points from 270 today. It will also expand regional marketing and sales operations teams to four key regions across India, while also developing the Nissan design centre in Chennai to ensure cars meet the rapidly changing expectations of Indian customers.

The company is looking to make gains with digitisation. Nissan’s first Global Digital Hub in Kerala will focus on innovations in mobility to enhance its products worldwide and in India.

Strengthening both the Nissan and Datsun brands
“Nissan is committed to India and has built the foundations to succeed,” said Peyman Kargar, senior vice-president of Nissan Motor Co, Chairman- Africa, Middle East, and India. “Our strategy will strengthen both our brands for our customers across India. The Nissan brand will bring the best of global Nissan products and technology to our customers in India, starting with the Nissan Kicks. For Datsun, we aim to offer compelling products across segments offering value, connectivity and Japanese engineering.”

Since 2010, Alliance has invested Rs 6,100 crore in India and will continue to focus on the Indian market to further develop its engineering, research and development and manufacturing operations in India.

The Alliance is already India’s largest automotive research and development employer through the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre for India in Chennai. Further, the Alliance’s plant in Chennai is a global manufacturing hub exporting to 106 countries.

“In the coming years in India, we will grow and our workforce will shift towards highly skilled jobs to lead the technological changes coming to the auto industry in India,” said Peyman Kargar. “Our aim is to ensure our operations in India are best in class, and that India becomes an even more significant global hub for Nissan and the Alliance in manufacturing, engineering and research and development. Our strategy in India is to invest in talent and people.”

Peyman Kargar, senior vice-president of Nissan Motor Co, Chairman- Africa, Middle East, and India. 

Nissan’s investment in the Indian market will be driven by a three-part plan focused on people, processes and product innovation:

People: This will mean optimise opportunities for transfers and advancement between manufacturing, R&D and other operations for all employees. Nissan will train the plant workforce to prepare for the increased demands of manufacturing next-generation cars; 10% of employees to be trained in the first year.

It will also reinforce flexibility of manufacturing through career mobility between Alliance organisations, recruitment of people with future-technology skills and, in areas where there is a surplus of skills today, offer a voluntary option of financial support for plant employees who wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere. 

Processes: Reduce complexity through greater use of common platforms as part of the Alliance 2022 goal for 9 million cars per year globally to be based on four common platforms by 2022.

Product innovations: Harness opportunities in India from Nissan's global leadership in electrification and connected cars.