Japanese carmaker Nissan is turning out to be a strong challenger to India’s leading car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki in the country. By offering a wide range of its products – from entry-level cars from its Datsun stable to SUVs like Terrano – Nissan is positioning itself as a complete car company to woo Indian customers. What else is there in store for the Indian market in the years to come, Ajay Singh finds out during his chat with Arun Malhotra, Managing Director, Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd.…
Q.What India-specific strategy have you planned to tap the Indian market?
Arun Malhotra : Indian car market is one of the fastest growing car market in the world. For India, we have adopted two-pronged strategy – target smaller cities and towns across India by opening new dealerships and develop a robust network of modern workshops. We plan to open 20-30 new dealerships every year to cover 250 districts pan India within next three to four years. We now have 150 dealerships.
We are now focusing on major districts and towns across India so that our products are within reach of our potential customers. Every year we will open 20-30 new dealerships with each having a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art workshop. We want to make high quality of after-sales service as our USP in India.
Q: Nissan is the second-fastest growing car company in India. How do you see your company evolve in the next three to four years?
Arun Malhotra : We are the only car company that offers two distinct brands – Nissan and Datsun – to our customers. From current two per cent market share we will capture five per cent by 2020. In the first three quarters of the current fiscal while the car industry grew at 10%, we at Nissan recorded a staggering 50% growth. For us the demand is huge and we fully prepared to meet all aspirations of Indian customers. We are strategically offering two different brands in the country. While Datsun range of cars will be priced between Rs.2.5 lakh to Rs.6 lakh, Nissan cars will come with price tags between sections of Indian customers.
Q: You recently opened a new Nissan dealership at Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and you plan to open more in smaller cities and towns. What is the strategy behind this move?
Arun Malhotra : Small towns and cities are offering good growth possibilities for us. Indian economy is growing fast and people’s income is also increasing. India is primarily a two-wheeler market, but people are now buying cars. So that growth of cars have to come from smaller cities and town. To tap this market we are going closer to them and opening new dealerships that not only offers best sales experience but also give them high quality after-sales experience.
We are offering best after-sales service to our customers which is boosting our growth. We have improved considerably over the years in the annual J.D. Power India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Last year we stood second which shows people’s affinity towards our brand. For better customer experience, we are opening highway service centres so that those driving Nissan cars are never far away from our service engineers. We have opened 20 highway service centres and plan to add more covering all major highways across India.
Q. Nissan has invested a lot in India. India is also turning out to be a major export hub for you. What new things are we going to see from Nissan till 2020?
Arun Malhotra : We plan to introduce eight new Make-in-India models by 2020 – four each from Nissan and Datsun stable – that will also be exported across the globe. Nissan is betting big on Indian market. Apart from Japan and US, Nissan has opened its R&D Centre in India, which is a unique feat of us. We have set up 600-acre state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Chennai to cater to Indian and global markets. India is turning out to be a major export hub for the Nissan Group. India will cater to growing demand of Nissan cars across the globe.
Q: Demonetisation has given a rude shock to auto industry’s growth. How has it impacted Nissan and what is the road ahead?
Arun Malhotra : I do not see a big impact on our sales due to demonetisation. Car sales are based on finance, so sales will pick up once all anxiety due to the demonetisation drive ends. Market has already started picking up and we will see sales going up in next couple of months. But what has gone unnoticed in the past one month is the 100% finance that companies offered on cars, which is a first in India. Such innovative finance options will continue to fuel growth of Indian car market.