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August 16, 2013
Nissan is banking on the Terrano SUV to lift the Japanese company’s subdued sales in the Indian market. With the Terrano, it will hope to replicate some of the success that Alliance partner Renault has had with its now ubiquitous Duster. Unlike other badge-engineered products like the Renault Scala and Pulse, which are the Sunny and Micra, respectively, with a few plastic add-ons, the Terrano will come with more significant exterior changes, and this could work in its favour. 

There will be sheet metal changes to bring the car’s design in line with other Nissan SUVs like the X-Trail and Pathfinder. So the styling changes that could set it apart from the Renault Duster are different bumpers, tailgate, headlamps, tail-lights and an all-new grille that will define it as a Nissan. But, in the interests of cost-saving, the Terrano’s interiors will be almost identical to the Duster’s, save for bits like the Nissan logo on the steering wheel and a different instrument cluster.

The compact SUV segment is growing by leaps and bounds, and currently this space is dominated by two key players - the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport. Whereas the Renault has chalked up a total of 54,219 units sold in the July 2012 – June 2013 period, the recently launched EcoSport has sold a commendable 8,717 units since its launch on June 26, 2013, and there are over 30,000 bookings in hand.

Nissan, however, could have its work cut out primarily because it will be priced at a premium of at least Rs. 50,000 above the Duster. 

An agreement in the Renault-Nissan Alliance states that when Renault badge-engineers a Nissan car, the Renault version is typically priced higher than its Nissan donor and vice versa. In this case, since Nissan is borrowing the Duster, the Terrano will be priced higher. This will make it pricier than not just its Renault-badged sibling but the Ford EcoSport as well.

Nissan still thinks the Terrano could steal some customers from its rivals and bring in some much-needed traffic to its showrooms. Despite the Terrano being on the pricier side, Nissan can bank on the fact that it will boast of a premium look the Duster can’t muster. What’s more, the Terrano will further expand this already-popular segment that hasn’t saturated yet.

The Nissan Terrano will officially be unveiled on August 20, with a launch set for sometime in October 2013.