Nissan on network expansion drive to strengthen India presence
New Delhi: Japanese car maker Nissan plans to increase its network in India three-fold to 350 dealerships in the next three years, targeting Tier-II and Tier-III cities, to increase its presence in the market.
The company, which plans to launch the first model under the recently unveiled Datsun brand by March-April, is going ahead with a roadshow for the new product in 90 cities.
"Currently, we have 117 Nissan dealerships across the country. We are aiming to have around 350 dealerships in the next three years," Nissan Motor India Vice President Business Management Ajay Raghuvanshi said.
He said the company is looking to expand the dealer network not only in big cities but also in small towns as rural sales have become important for the industry.
"These days, around 20 percent of the car sales come from rural areas. We should be available in this sizable market," Raghuvanshi said.
Of the average 1.6 lakh cars sold in India every month, about 30,000 are in the rural areas, so this can't be ignored, he added.
Nissan, which sold 15,091 units in the April-November, down 41.74 percent from a year earlier, currently has a market share of little more than 1.2 percent. It is targeting a 10 percent share by 2016.
The company expects the Datsun models to play a significant role in achieving its goals in India.
Raghuvanshi said the Datsun GO is expected to be commercially launched by March-April.
He said Datsun "needs a separate marketing strategy that is going to be different from the Nissan distribution strategy and it needs to be aggressive."
Last month, Nissan had stated it would sell the Datsun GO and other models from the Datsun range on its own in India and not through its sales and service partner, Hover Automotive.
Nissan is currently undertaking a roadshow for the Datsun brand across India.
"The idea behind the roadshow in 90 cities is to take the product to the consumers. By the time we launch the car in March, it will be a known brand," Raghuvanshi said.
Stating that Datsun GO is for the masses, he said the roadshows in Tier-II, Tier-III cities and smaller towns will help to create brand awareness.
Earlier this year, Nissan announced the global relaunch of its Datsun brand. It unveiled the hatchback Datsun GO with plans to launch three models by 2016, which will all be priced at less than Rs 4 lakh.