Nissan Magnite facelift under development
Magnite facelift will be manufactured in both right-hand drive (RHD) and left-hand drive (LHD) configurations, with the LHD variant intended for sale in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
As part of its “sustenance plan” before Nissan India enters the midsize SUV market in 2025, the Japanese brand will be banking on exports of the Magnite and refreshing the compact SUV over the next two years. This essentially means that Nissan aims for its compact SUV to hold the fort in India until its C-segment SUVs arrive.
Nissan Magnite facelift will be a global offering
Although a definite timeline has not been established, the Magnite facelift is being readied by Nissan for an India launch sometime in the middle of 2024. As part of its plans to build overseas business from India, Nissan will begin exporting the refreshed Magnite to Left Hand Drive (LHD) markets like Mexico and will seek to open up more markets in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
The company has also extended the life of its Sunny midsize sedan beyond 2023 for exports to the Middle East by a few more years. This will ensure that Nissan is able to improve its plant utilisation as it sells just one model in India currently, and will continue to do so for the next two years.
Francois Bailly, chief planning officer of the global business unit at Nissan Motor Corporation, in an interview with our sister publication Autocar Professional said, “The Magnite SUV has been very well received and it is being demanded in many markets around the world. The Magnite is a great success locally and in South Africa, and we have to grow the Magnite business in more export markets to ensure its competitiveness remains. Today, we just have right hand drive version, with left hand drive version many markets will open up, we will explore markets in Africa, Middle East, LatAM, Mexico, as we feel, we have a car that fits very well, for those markets.”
India's volume for the Nissan Magnite have been around 25,000 to 30,000 units per annum, and the brand desperately needs more models to have a bigger say in the marketplace. With the export of the LHD Magnite, there is a potential of bringing in incremental production volumes of about 40,000 to 50,000 units.
Bailly, who is playing an integral part in defining the new mid-term roadmap for Nissan, believes India is set to play an even bigger role in the future, once the midsize SUVs and A-segment electric vehicle hits the market between 2025 and 2027. “India is the third largest market, one of the very few markets that is growing, and it has a huge potential to grow. There are a lot of first-time car buyers and there are many people who are growing from a motorcycle to a car. One thing I want to emphasise is that with the cost performance of India, if you deeply localise in India, then the role of India for Nissan gets bigger,” he said.
Bailly is cognisant of the pace of the development in the Indian market, but says, “Nissan is a challenger brand” in the country, and for him, this time around, the company “needs to do it right, even if it takes time – Nissan can wait it out."
CNG, BEV, hybrid all part of planning process
As the brand readies its next wave of cars and SUVs for the Indian market, a discussion on multiple powertrains is on the table right from CNG, E-Power hybrid technology and pure battery electric vehicles. Bailly says he “is convinced India is moving to EVs” but until they become big and reach a scale, Nissan is exploring the relevance of multiple technologies.
As for CNG, Bailly says it is more relevant to an MPV (a Nissan-made one based on the Renault Triber has been under evaluation for a while) than the Magnite. On the E-Power Hybrid technology, he added, “Yes, we are looking at E-Power for India. It is a key technology for us to meet regulations like CAFE as it helps with fuel economy and CO2 emissions; it is unique to Nissan and we are looking at it.”
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