Nissan to make inroads into India with Micra

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing
Last updated : June 09, 2010
The car brand, known globally for its design and performance, has finally forayed into India with the launch of its compact car, Micra. Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor will endorse all Nissan products in India

Nissan Motor India is finally eyeing the Indian terrain seriously with the launch of its first locally manufactured car - a compact hatchback - the Nissan Micra, which is expected to hit the market in mid July. Company executives reveal that the Micra will be followed by the launch of a sedan.

Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor has been roped in for a period of three years to endorse all Nissan products and services in India.

Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and chief executive officer, Nissan Motor India, remarks, "Nissan is a car company with a 'passion for cars'. Our brand heritage stands for cars that maximise life and provide the joy of everyday driving. Ranbir Kapoor is a passionate, versatile and talented film star and with his charm and mass appeal, we hope to be major players in India soon."

Abhijeet Pandit, vice-president, operations, Hover Automotive India, admits that there is a long road ahead for Nissan in India, going by the clutter in the B+ segment, Nissan's late entry into India and low brand awareness. "This is where our brand endorser will help build quick recall from Day One," Pandit says.

Globally, Nissan is strong in different segments in various markets. In West Asia, its SUVs such as the Pathfinder are hugely popular; the US is more of a patron of its sedans such as Altima and Maxima; in its home country, Japan, it is famous for its small cars including the Cube; whereas in Europe, its SUVs such as the Qashqai are popular. In India, it hopes to capture the B+ segment to begin with.

Globally, Nissan stands for its design, spirit of innovation and performance, with its positioning statement, 'Shift - the way you move'. This corporate positioning will be maintained in India, while the brand campaign for Micra will sport the thought, 'Drive simpler. Live better'. 'Drive simpler' implies the smooth manner in which one can operate the car, making driving easy and stress free in a traffic congested country such as India. Less stress and simplifying city chaos in turn leads to a better life and hence, 'Live better'.

Two 15-second commercials announcing the commencement of bookings for the Micra will be launched on TV channels on June 10. The first ad, 'Key', shows Kapoor talking of how the key to life is actually 'no key' - as the car doesn't require a key to get into it, but is operated by a remote like device. The second commercial has Kapoor sitting in the car, proclaiming that life begins with a human touch - as he presses a button to start the car instead of an ignition key.

While these are capsule ads, the main launch commercial for Micra will be aired in July. The agency on Nissan is TBWA/India.

Apart from TV, Nissan plans to employ press, outdoor, online media, radio, direct marketing and corporate programmes. Yearly ad spends, according to informed sources, are pegged at Rs 25-30 crore across all Nissan launches in the coming year.

Micra targets consumers who enjoy the experience of driving - who savour the journey, so to speak, more than the destination. Unlike Toyota (which appeals to the rational mindset), Micra hopes to capture those consumers for whom a car is a style or status statement and who attach more importance to the experience of driving a car.

Demographically, a Micra consumer falls in the age group of 25-40 years and is a well educated, junior to mid-level working executive or a businessman looking to buy a car for himself and his family. Typically, he is a tech-savvy individual wanting the best of features even in a compact car. "Let's just say fuel efficiency, while important, will not be the first reason why a person goes for Micra - other factors such as comfort and superior technological features shall make him go for this stylish car," Pandit tells afaqs!.

For the record, Nissan Motor India is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Nissan Motor Japan. Some of Nissan's products which have been present in India include the X-Trail (SUV model), the Teana (luxury sedan) and 370Z (sports car) - all three imported from Japan as CBUs (completely built units).

First Published : June 09, 2010

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