Targeting 10 percent market share in 2016, Nissan mulls expansion

Chennai, Feb 1 (IANS) Japanese Nissan Motor Company is targeting 10 percent market share in the Indian car market by 2016 with the launch of 10 new models. It is also mulling expansion plans, including setting up a new plant.

Nissan will soon launch a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) and an entry-level car under the Datsun brand for which the distribution network is also under study. The company will also launch fuel-efficient automatic transmission Micra, Sunny and Compact SUV.

"Our vision is to capture a market share of 10 percent in India by 2016," Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer, told reporters here.

He said Nissan Motor expected the Indian car market to be in the region of around 4.7 million units by 2016 -- and 10 percent of that worked to around 400,000 units.

Queried about the production facility to achieve that target, he said: "We are exploring options."

Currently, Nissan gets its models made at the Franco-Japanese automotive joint venture Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd (RNAIPL) near here.

The plant has a total capacity of 400,000 units on three-shift basis and caters to the needs of Nissan and Renault.

According to Takayuki Ishida, managing director and chief executive officer at Nissan Motor India (Indian subsidiary of Nissan), the issue of capacity expansion is under study at the group's headquarters in Japan.

He said the company was studying options of setting up the expansion plant in or outside Tamil Nadu.

Ishida added that the company would not reduce exports to meet the increase in the domestic demand for want of capacity.

He said currently the company has a capacity of 200,000 units per annum at RNAIPL and one line is operating in three shifts.

About the proposed model under Datsun brand, Shiga said: "The Datsun brand will be focused on Indian and Indonesian markets while the Nissan brand is a global one."

He said the proposed Datsun car for the Indian market is being designed at the Renault Nissan Technology and Business Centre India Pvt Ltd- the research and development outfit for Renault and Nissan.

The Datsun car is expected to be priced around Rs.400,000 and Ishida refutes any notion that it would be a cheap car.

According to Ishida, the company is also mulling the option of having a separate dealership network for Datsun brand while not clearly commenting whether the network would be owned by Nissan India or by Hoover Automotive India, the sales company for Nissan vehicles.

Meanwhile, Nissan hopes to close the current fiscal with a domestic sales of around 50,000 units and double it in 2013. The company is also planning to increase the dealer network to around 150 outlets from the current 95.

Agreeing that the tiff between Japan and China over the ownership of some islands has affected Nissan's sales in China, Shiga said the footfalls in the company's Chinese showrooms are increasing now.

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