Nissan studying the feasibility of introducing its electric car Nissan Leaf in India

Automotive News by  2 yrs ago

The Chennai-based Nissan India is contemplating on the feasibility of launching its popular electric car, Nissan Leaf in the Indian market, a Business Standard Report said. India might as well get the opportunity of the world's top selling highway-capable electric vehicle in the not so distant future.

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Kiminobu Tokuyama, Managing Director and CEO of Nissan Motor India Limited told the daily: 'Right now are are undertaking a feasibility study of launching Nissan Leaf in the burgeoning Indian market'.

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Stating that Nissan was renowned for its innovations, the official added that the Japanese car maker had strong product launch plan in place. 'Through our launch of a slew of products, we would bring in loads of innovations as well', Tokuyama pointed out.

A significant name in the electric vehicle segment, Nissan sells in excess of 21,0000 Nissan Leaf cars in the last calendar year. Nissan has a big market for Nissan Leaf in the US market, besides its home turf of Japan.

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As far as the growth of electric vehicles in India are concerned, it is yet to take off. If earlier, Reva Electric Car, promoted by Chetan Maini was the sole player, seeing the future of electric cars, India's largest sports utility vehicles manufacturer, Mahindra & Mahindra acquired the firm and named Maini as its head. A smart move at that, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle is currently focusing its business in European market than the domestic marketplace, as the dearth of proper infrastructure is plaguing the EV industry in the country.

Except Delhi, no other state government had come forward to offer some sort of sops to the electric vehicle manufacturers. In the two-wheeler segment, there are quite a few players, but in the four-wheeler segment, no bold attempt has been made, so to say.

Mahindra is likely to launch the second follow-up model of Mahindra Reva NXR before the end of this year. Premiered at the Delhi Auto Expo 2012 in early January, the new electric car from the stable of Mahindra is tipped to become an instant hit in the Indian market, especially with the volatile price fluctuations of petrol. Having said that, the company needs to focus more on setting up battery charging points across the country, which is actually a cumbersome task.

Coming back to Nissan Leaf's entry into the Indian market, Tokuyama did not say any definite time frame for the launch of the car, while leaving the propsect of Nissan bringing in its electric car depended on how the Government of India took the initiative  to make the commercial introduction of environment friendly vehicles viable.

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"In terms of infrastructure building, we might as well require much more encouragement and support from the government with the likes of subsidies to the consumers, like what is being practiced in many countries abroad.

The official also said that a lion's share of its India business comes from the compact car Nissan Micra and Nissan Sunny models. Nissan had posted a three-fold increase in total sales to 5,168 cars sold in January this year. Nissan Micra alone topped the chart with a whopping sales of 1,855 units, while its sedan Nissan Sunny logged a sales of 3,218 units. If this is the domestic sales record of Nissan, around 85 percent of its total production of cars are meant for overseas markets.

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"We will have a cohesive focus on the domestic sales, while care would be taken to ensure that exports will not happen at the cost of domestic sales. In fact, we are widening the number of sales network from the present 51 to 100 by 2013. We are aiming at selling 100,000 cars by 2013-14", Tokuyama said.

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Nissan is also contemplating on introducing another compact car below the existing Nissan Micra, to cover the under Rs 400,000 price band. Stating that the project is still at a conceptual stage, the official assured that the concept will fructify soon. Nissan is also likely to unveil a multi purpose vehicle, Nissan Evalia in the middle of 2012. The car was displayed at the recently concluded Delhi Auto Expo 2012, which attracted lot of eyeballs. The new MPV is based on a modified platform of a van sold by the Japanese car major at the global arena.

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                                                                       Photography: M Sathyan.

In India, Nissan Evalia will take on the might of Toyota Innova, which is largely the largest selling vehicle from Toyota's stable.

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