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Nissan Announces New Strategy For India With Kicks SUV To Lead Charge

The Nissan Kicks compact SUV will be the first new launch under the company's new strategy for India, while it plans to recruit 1500 employees at its plant and R&D centres.

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The Nissan Kicks will be launched in India in the first quarter of 2019

Japanese auto giant Nissan has announced its strategy for the Indian market with new products, strengthening of Nissan and Datsun brands, dealership expansion and optimising flexible manufacturing. The automaker will also strengthen the R&D facilities together with its alliance partners in India. Leading the company's new offensive will be the Nissan Kicks compact SUV that has been confirmed to make its domestic launch in the first quarter of 2019. The Kicks will be positioned above the Terrano in the company's line-up and will take on the Hyundai Creta, Jeep Compass and the likes in the segment.

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Also Read: Nissan Kicks India Launch Scheduled For Launch In January 2019

Speaking about the new strategy, Senior Vice President of Nissan Motor Co. and Chairman - Africa, Middle East and India, Peyman Kargar said, "Nissan is committed to India and has built the foundations to succeed. Our strategy will strengthen both our brands for our customers across India. The Nissan brand will bring the best of global Nissan products and technology to our customers in India, starting with the Nissan Kicks. For Datsun, we aim to offer compelling products across segments offering value, connectivity and Japanese engineering."

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(The Renault Nissan Alliance Plant in Oragadam is a manufacturing hub for 106 countries)

As part of its new turnaround strategy, the automaker announced that it plans to bring the best of Nissan's worldwide lineup to India building on the automaker's "technological leadership in electrification and connected cars." The strategy includes reinforcing Nissan as a premium mainstream brand with wide appeal, which will start with the launch of the Kicks SUV.

Meanwhile, the automaker plans to build a strong line-up for Datsun cars in India. With the Datsun brand, the focus will be on progressive mobility with high-value products that are equipped with connected technologies. More feature-rich Datsun cars then are likely to hit the market in the future.

In addition, Nissan plans to double its sales and service touch points and strengthen its dealership network over the next three years. The company presently operates with 270 outlets. The strategy also includes more regional marketing and sales operations teams in the four key regions across the country. The Nissan Design Centre in Chennai will be further developed to design and develop cars that meet the expectation of Indian customers.

Nissan also announced that it will be hiring 500 employees at the company's first Global Digital Hub located in Kerala, as part of the expansion plans. The Digital Hub will focus on mobility innovations to enhance Nissan products worldwide and in India. It will also work towards expanding access to the automaker's products and services via digitisation and e-commerce. Nissan India will also recruit an additional 1000 engineers at RNTBCI to further enhance the alliance's position in research and development.

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(Nissan's future products will be based on the alliance's four global platforms)

Speaking about hiring new employees, Peyman Kargar said, "In the coming years in India, we will grow and our workforce will shift towards highly skilled jobs to lead the technological changes coming to the auto industry in India. Our aim is to ensure our operations in India are best in class, and that India becomes an even more significant global hub for Nissan and the Alliance in manufacturing, engineering and research and development. Our strategy in India is to invest in talent and people."

Nissan Indias has invested over ₹ 6100 crore since 2010 towards engineering, development and manufacturing. However, the company holds a minuscule part of the market share in an auto market that is set to become the third largest in the world by 2021. The company exports more products than it sells in India, and that is why the new strategy comes into effect, to attract more volumes. The Renault-Nissan alliance plant in Chennai exports to 106 countries.

The automaker will be training the plant workforce to prepare for the increased demands of manufacturing of the next generation cars. 10 per cent of the workforce will be trained in the first year. The company will also offer a voluntary exit scheme with financial support for plant employees that would want to try opportunities elsewhere.

As part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, the company's future products will be based on the four common platforms that will be in use by 2022, allowing for higher economies of scale.

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