Nissan is currently scouting the Indian auto market for introducing their new Infiniti series of super premium cars, according to the Company’s corporate VP, India, Middle East and Africa, Gilles Normand.
Normand was quoted as saying that for this market, they would obviously be importing the Infiniti series as CBUs. They would decide regarding local manufacturing much later.
While the current market for premium cars in India is quite small, it is growing rapidly. Luxury cars have seen their sales rise by almost double every month, when compared to the same month, from a year ago. BMW sales, for example, who also happen to lead the luxury market, rose from 3,461 units to 6,281 units this year, against that of 2010.
Audi is similarly expecting to sell around 4,500 units this year, an increase of 50% over sales in 2010, while Porsche has projected sales of 500 cars this year, compared to the 130 cars it sold last year. British auto manufacturer, Bentley, which only recently entered the market, is projecting to sell 100 cars this year, with the price of one model as high as INR 1.9 crore. This is clearly a market, which Nissan would not like to ignore.
When the company was asked if they would be launching an electric model in India, seeing that their Leaf electric car is sold overseas, Normand replied that there are 3 market conditions to be fulfilled for selling electric cars. The first is that the government should provide some incentives on sales, which will ensure that these cars do not cost more than diesel and petrol variants.
The second condition is that there should be proper infrastructure in the market for charging these cars. According to him, their Leaf model has a mileage of 170km on a single charge. Using this as reference, he said that charging stations should be placed at least 170km from each other. The last condition is that people should be educated by the government in the benefit of opting for electric cars that do not pollute, over other variants.
He also added that they would be launching a new sedan this year. While he did not provide further details, he said that this market was more biased in favor of diesel variants. He said that the sedan would be offered in C segment competing with the cars like the Maruti DZiRE. The Micra was introduced by Nissan, last year in India and has so far managed to sell 13,000 models. For 2011-12, the company hopes to sell around 40,000 models at least.