The week started off well and we had some very good news from Nissan. The Japanese carmaker has finally started commercial production of its much-awaited small car ‘Micra’ from its plant in Chennai. Nissan plans to make this facility a global export center. The Micra will be on the Indian roads in July. So, in case you are looking to own one, you may order your Micra right away. Bookings open today. As for the exports, production would start in July and delivery will begin in September.
In case you want to have a look at the Micra, it is already being displayed in Nissan’s showrooms across India. The bookings will be against an initial amount of Rs 50,000. “The start of commercial production of Nissan Micra is the beginning of a new chapter for us in India. In an exponentially growing and challenging Indian automobile industry, we are introducing a product that has been specifically designed keeping in mind the discerning consumer needs of India,” Nissan Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said in a statement. This made-in-India car will be exported to “strategic markets” like Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nissan has plans of selling the Micra in over 100 countries.
The to-be global export hub of Nissan in Oragadam, near Chennai was inaugurated earlier in March. The two partners of the Franco-Japanese auto alliance, Renault and Nissan will together invest Rs 4,500 Crore to produce 4 Lakh units by 2015. Great plans! Nissan says that they always had a clear strategy for India and this has been clearly reflecting in the investments in the first manufacturing plant for the alliance in Chennai. Renault-Nissan has made an initial investment of Rs 2,900 Crore in the 640-acre Chennai plant for production of 200,000 units a year, which can be scaled up to 400,000 units. It plans to produce about 80,000 units in the first year.
The plant operates in full compliance with Alliance global manufacturing processes and quality standards. Its production management system, launched for the first time at any plant of Renault and Nissan, is based on mutual knowledge sharing and the best practices from both companies. The new manufacturing process allows the plant to seamlessly mix production of both Renault and Nissan products on same line.
Ford has marketed its Figo real well. VW has some very creative ads for its Polo. And now, it’s Nissan’s turn. To boost sales, the company will aggressively market the Micra and it will be supported by a comprehensive print, digital, radio and TV campaign shortly. The Micra has been pitted against the Maruti Swift, Hyundai i10 and i20. Let’s wait and watch who wins.
Nissan’s new car, Micra will come strapped with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and will have 85 per cent localization in components. The car was designed on the new ‘V’ platform, the versatile platform. The Chennai plant currently employs 1,900 people, and this is expected to go up to 3,000 employees in the next two years. The company, along with its supplier park in Chennai, estimates a total of 6,000 jobs to be created in the region. The Micra will be produced in Thailand, India, China and Mexico. A fifth location is yet to be decided.
The Nissan Micra has been designed to have broad appeal to customers across the globe. The compact car was designed and tested in Japan and fine-tuned to meet the tastes and desires of customers worldwide. Like the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i10 and i20, the Micra too is believed to be an ideal car for everyday travel. Coming from Nissan’s stable, there’s no doubt that the car is chic, reliable and eco friendly.
The compact hatchback not only has pleasing looks, but is also engineered for smooth handling and agile performance. It is going to display the best-in-class fuel efficiency figures too. As mentioned earlier, over 85 per cent of Micra’s parts have been obtained through local vendors, 96 in total, and 50 per cent of them are located within Chennai. So, that’s what we call a made-in-India car.