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After Hover breakup, Nissan aims at building new sales structure

Friday, 30 May 2014 - 6:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Japanese automaker Nissan, which missed a target to corner 10% of car market share in India last year, is taking in a corrective mode as it lines up new products and puts in place a completely new sales structure.

Against a target of selling one lakh cars in fiscal 2014, the company sold 38,220, a growth of 3.28% over previous fiscal, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Takashi Hata, senior vice-president, Nissan Motor company, who recently took charge as chairman for AMI (Africa, Middle East and India) region, told dna that the company is in the process of correcting different processes in order to achieve its 10% market share.

"I have to accept the fact that Nissan has under-performed in the Indian market, despite the investments. We miss the target for domestic volumes, which is disappointing. We need to improve," he said.

Hata was in Mumbai to inaugurate company's sales and marketing headquarters.

It is looking at a new strategy, which would be backed by new product introductions and new sales structure.

The company in February this year announced the termination of its agreement with Hover Automotive India (HAI) for exclusive sales, marketing and distribution of Nissan branded vehicles and parts in the country.

As the new chairman of the AMI region, Hata said India will be company's first priority to improve. Nissan recently introduced its first entry-level car, Dastun Go, and is looking to further expand the Datsun range.

"I am happy with the start of Datsun Go. But we need to sustain our growth. Hence, we will be adding Datsun Go Plus. Our market share jumped from 1.5% to 3% last year. We are at very initial stage. For 10% we need to do a lot of things, and there are lots of challenges ahead," said Hata.

According to Hata, Nissan this year will launch Datsun Go Plus (a multi purpose vehicle), and will also introduce new Sunny (sedan) and Evalia.

Hata said that it is also exploring new segments like the sub-4-metre vehicles. "It is going to be important to expand in right segments. Nissan has variety of products globally. But we need to have a strong brand first, and show growth in this market," he said.

"I know, sub-4-metre is a missing piece for Nissan, which we are seriously studying. But we are not publicly stating any plans right now," he said.

Apart from new products, the company is looking at aggressive network expansion from the current 128 dealers to 200 dealers by the end of this year.

Hata said the continuous slowdown in the Indian market and disappointing numbers of Nissan in India will not change anything for its India operations.

"We did not expect this kind of slowdown. However, it did not change our plan. In short-sighted view of the market, with new government, day by day I am getting more optimistic," he said.

Meanwhile, the company has announced the appointment of Guillaume Sicard as deputy president, Nissan India Operations, from July 1.

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