Nissan Motors India plans to start exporting Sunny, its locally made mid-level sedan, to West Asia and Africa early next year as it looks to tap into high demand for such cars in these regions, said Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director.
Nissan launched Sunny in India with much aplomb last week. Sunny is Nissan’s second locally made vehicle after Micra, which was launched last October.
The base model of Sunny, the XE, is priced at 5.78 lakh while the mid-range one, the XL, at 6.69 lakh and top-end XV 7.68 lakh (All ex-showroom Delhi). ‘Though our priority is the local market, we will also aggressively pursue export volumes,” Tokuyama said.
He added that the Japanese carmaker plans to launch an multipurpose vehicle in the country next year. “It is going to be an MPV like Toyota Innova,” he said without disclosing the price range for the product and other details. While Nissan is pitching Sunny in the local, West Asian and African markets, Micra was sold in Europe. Tokuyama said he is extremely satisfied with Micra's export numbers which touched 1 lakh in 11 months.
“This time around we are targeting the West Asia because of the demand there. Besides, we have already placed sedans from our UK and Spanish units in the European market,” he said, adding that the company is working at developing India as a supply chain management hub apart from countries such as Japan, China and the United Kingdom.
Nissan Motors India, which has a 200,000-vehicles-per-year manufacturing facility at Oragadam near Chennai, plans to expand its dealer networks to 60 members by next year from the current 45. By 2013, the carmaker plans to take it up to 100.
The company has so far launched 5 models in the country: Micra, Teana, 370Z (sports car), X-Trail and Sunny. It will also add an MPV to its basket by next year. “It is going to be a vehicle like Toyota Innova,” the Nissan India chief said. Nissan employs around 4,700 people at its manufacturing unit and some 1,900 at its research and development centre in Chennai.
The company is currently doing a feasibility study on its proposed small car. Tokuyama said it is likely to be priced in the range of 2-4 lakh.
On continuing to use Ennore port in Tamil Nadu for its export activities, Tokuyama said: “Export efficiency is critical to our Indian operations and we are having some issues with Ennore port in this respect where there is a lot of work to be done on costs and general infrastructure. We are in close communication with the port authority about these issues.” He said because of the importance of exports from its Oragadam facility, the company is seriously considering other options.