Nissan India on Monday indicated that it may, for now, continue with its SUV push, and not focus on other segments such as sedans and small hatchbacks.
The company also said it is hiring around 1,500 people (1,000 at the plant and 500 at dealerships) and increasing the plant capacity to a third shift from next month, on the back of an increase in demand for the recently launched compact SUV Magnite.
It received 32,800 bookings for the Magnite in 32 days since its December 2 launch apart from 1.80 lakh enquiries. To meet the demand and reduce the waiting time, it has decided to hire more, increase the shift and also keep the introductory prices the same (except the base variant increase by ₹50,000).
The Magnite, available only in 1-litre petrol engine, is priced between ₹5.49 lakh and ₹9.59 lakh (ex-showroom, India) now.
“The management of Nissan has decided to keep the existing prices for some more time,” said Rakesh Srivastava, Managing Director, Nissan India, said adding that the third shift at its Chennai plant will help the company increase Magnite output to 3,500-4,000 units per month by February from the current level 2,500 units.
Asked if the company will continue with SUVs in India and not small cars (Micra) or sedans (like Sunny), Srivastava said: “Nissan globally is into multiple body types, but out of that the SUV DNA is significant, with products like Xtrail, Patrol and Kicks. So, as of now, we will talk about the Magnite, and when the time comes for others, we will inform you.”
He further said other brands like Datsun RediGo and Go Plus have been upgraded to comply with the new BS-VI emission norms and other safety standards, and will remain in the market.
Srivastava said Nissan has demonstrated EV technology through its Leaf model, but there are challenges currently in India in terms of charging infrastructure and supply chain for batteries, and the company will continue to evaluate the market.
Nissan will also start exporting the Magnite to Indonesia and South Africa, Srivasatava said. However, he added, the priority right now is to meet domestic demand.