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Nissan to expand budget car range

autos Updated: Apr 09, 2013 12:07 IST
Autocar India
nissan micra

Nissan is planning an aggressive onslaught on the budget end of the Indian car market with new variants of the Nissan Micra and the debut of the Datsun brand with a compact hatchback (code: K2) this year.

As revealed by Autocar India in July last year, Nissan has now officially confirmed that it will be launching an entry-level version of the Micra (code: G02A), which will be called the Micra Classic. This variant will essentially be a pared-down version of the existing Micra that will be around Rs 50,000 cheaper than the current base model.

The Classic will come with lower equipment levels and will only get basic kit like power steering, central locking and air-conditioning. Nissan has also saved costs in the Classic by using simpler, one-piece seats; like the Brio and the previous Etios, its front buckets will come with fixed headrests. It will also come with more basic interior fabrics and a simpler range of colours. With the Classic, Nissan plans to drop a segment lower and squarely target cars like the Hyundai i10.

Nissan Micra facelift

Slotting in above the Micra Classic will be a facelifted version of the existing Micra, which comes with significant styling changes to make it more upmarket. It gets a bolder front grille and bumper arrangement, while new headlights add more visual interest. Changes to the rear include LED lights and a fresh range of allow wheel designs.

Inside, the interior retains the architecture of the current Micra's, but with some updated switchgear an materials. An automatic option is also on the cards. Both the Micra Classic and refreshed Micra will be powered by the same 1.5-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol engines.

Nissan has also confirmed that it will launch the first Datsun model in India this year. Known internally by its code, K2, this made-for-emerging-markets hatchback is expected to be quite stylish and have a premium look. Built on an older-generation Micra (K11), the K2 is expected to have class-leading space and fuel efficiency, and should be very competitively priced. The K2 is likely to bepowered by a modified version of the current1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine that powers the Micra. Unfortunately, there will be no diesel option for the K2, at least not initially.

A big concern for Nissan, however, is its distribution partner Hover Automotive India (HAI), which has been underperforming in the Indian market. Nissan’s complete sales, marketing and service operations are outsourced to HAI, which could limit the carmaker’s growth in India. However, HAI is understood to have undergone a top management change with a view to revamping the entire network and boosting dealer performance.

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