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Nissan launches 2 new cars in India

By Motortrend India Staff   |   16 September,2009

Nissan Motor Corporation launched two new car models in Mumbai on Wednesday as a part of an aggressive India expansion plan by Japan's third-largest automaker.

The new versions of Nissan's X-Trail sport utility vehicle and luxury Teana sedan was unveiled during a smoke and light show. Nissan Motors has plans to launch seven models by 2012 of which five models will be made in India.

"India is the single biggest country in Nissan's investment plan in 2009," said Kiminobu Tokuyama, chief executive and Managing Director of Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd.

The company was targeting a more than five per cent market share in the Indian market going forward, Tokuyama said. The auto firm also plans to up its dealers from the present five to 55 by 2012, he said.

He declined to specify exactly how much of Nissan's fiscal year 2009 capital expenditure budget of 350 billion Japanese yen ($3.6 billion) will be directed to India as the company works to diversify its product line, raise its market share and transform India into a global production hub.

Currently, Nissan ships cars to India ready which are made in Japan, incurring a 109 percent import duty. The retail price of the new X-Trail starts at 2 million rupees ($42,670) and the new Teana at 2.1 million rupees ($43,121) has thwarted sales, executives said.

Since Nissan began selling cars in India in 2004, it has only sold about 1,000 X-Trail vehicles, and just 300 Teana sedans, executives said.

Tokuyama said Nissan's first India-made car -- a new version of the hatchback that now sells under the Micra brand in Europe and the March brand in Japan -- would roll out of its Chennai factory, in southern India, in May 2010.

That factory is the centerpiece of a seven-year, 45 billion rupee ($920 million) investment plan undertaken with France's Renault, which owns 44 percent of Nissan.

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