We were the no.1 exporter of cars from india in june March 2018 issue

We were the no.1 exporter of cars from india in june

Nissan's drive in India has been smooth for quite some time now. Today, it's one of the biggest car exporters from India, shipping over 1,00,000 cars to 106 countries every year. In an exclusive interaction with The Dollar Business, Arun Malhotra, Managing Director, Nissan Motor India, talks about the Indian automobile market and shares Nissan's strategy to boost exports from the country.

Interview by Sheela Mamidenna | September 2016 Issue | The Dollar Business

TDB: You have been with Nissan India for almost two years now. How has your journey been so far?

Arun Malhotra (AM): It has been an exciting journey till now. Nissan has given me an opportunity to connect with various age groups and different sets of audiences for the Nissan and Datsun brands. After becoming the Managing Director of Nissan, my focus has been on growing  sales and driving strategic partnerships and alliances with the system builder community. I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve and what we have set out to achieve.

TDB: Guillaume Sicard,  President, Nissan India operations, had announced in the last fiscal that Nissan intends to focus more on entry-level cars in India in order to increase its market share to 5% by 2020. How are matters progressing on that front?

AM: We are steadily growing in India and our latest entrant in the entry level car segment, the Datsun redi-GO, is providing additional volumes to propel the growth of the Datsun brand in India. Datsun has had a great track record in India – today, 50% of the cars that we sell in this country sport the Datsun badge. We have also updated our existing models and they are offering steady volumes. Nissan Motor Corporation reported a domestic sale of 6,418 vehicles in the month of July 2016 as against 2,841 units exactly a year ago. This means that the sales figures of July 2016 have grown by 126% compared to the corresponding month last year.
TDB: Your company plans to launch one new car every year. As far as doing this is concerned, what competition do you envisage from other players? In your view, what is the existing demand for new cars every year?

AM: The Indian automobile industry is growing in size and evolving in terms of aspirations. The market here is fairly mature, and demands and expectations are constantly changing. Moreover, there is a diverse spectrum of consumers that we have to cater to. Across the board, automobile manufacturers in India are introducing a slew of new products.
As a company, we are well positioned to offer an array of high quality, safe and fuel efficient vehicles to consumers in India, maintaining the best in class cutting edge design, superior driving dynamics and smart technologies. To meet the growing demand of consumers in India, Nissan India has an aggressive investment and expansion strategy. The objective is to secure Indian consumers with high-quality vehicles that are value for money.

TDB: Your Datsun redi-GO has been giving tough competition to other small car brands in India. Much of your existing sales happen in the metropolitan and Tier 2 cities. Are you also looking at Tier 3 cities, especially in terms of widening the prospective net of customers for Datsun redi-GO?

AM: We believe in offering what people want, and value. Keeping in mind this philosophy, we conceptualised the Datsun redi-GO, which is essentially a city car – affordable, stylish and loaded with the best in class features. As you rightly said, redi-GO has been faring very well in terms of sales. We have received about 10,000 bookings within just one month of the launch, and are delivering  to all the cities where there is demand.

TDB: Since the day Nissan established a manufacturing unit in India, it has had a focussed export strategy and has been exporting to many countries. Do you see any increase in the figures? Are you looking to explore newer markets?

AM: The Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt. Ltd. (RNAIPL) plant, which is incidentally the largest production facility of the alliance in the world, started its operations in March 2010 in Oragadam, an industrial belt near Chennai. It has achieved a significant production milestone by manufacturing one million vehicles in January 2016. Since the time we started, Nissan has exported over 6,20,000 cars from the country. The total contribution to the economy in terms of foreign exchange is more than Rs.30,000 crore ($4.35 billion). RNAIPL exports to more than 106 countries across regions including Africa, Middle East and Europe via the Ennore Port facility.

We achieved the No.1 ranking in terms of exports in the month of June 2016 with 6,807 Nissan Micras being exported from India. The milestone confirms Nissan’s position as a major contributor to the ‘Make in India’ mandate. Japanese technology coupled with high quality standards has been the hallmark of Nissan cars and has contributed to its success. The 'Made in India' Micra helped Nissan achieve record sales in Europe in 2015, making Nissan the top-selling Asian car brand in the continent.

TDB: Nissan has delivered 200 units of Nissan Kicks for the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Are you also looking at capturing other international events in a similar manner?

AM: Nissan’s sports sponsorships serve an excellent example of how we deliver innovation and excitement for everyone. We always look forward to being a part of leading sporting tournaments and leverage various sport platforms to engage and excite fans all over the world.

TDB: After Sunny, no new car from Nissan has been launched in the sedan segment. Will there be any announcement in that space soon?

AM: The Nissan Sunny has been one of the star performers from our product portfolio. With its eye-catching modern design and state-of-the-art features, it has captured the hearts of 16 million customers globally. As of now, we don’t have plans to introduce any new product in the sedan segment.

TDB: Micra received considerable success in the initial years of its launch. However, the sheen gradually faded away. Will there be a new replacement soon in this segment?

AM: Nissan Micra is the most exported car from Nissan India’s product line. Nissan Micra CVT (continuously variable transmission) comes with Nissan’s globally acclaimed advanced X-TRONIC transmission technology. It is packed with features to ensure all round safety and has an ARAI certified mileage of 19.34 kmpl.

TDB: Renault and Nissan are in an alliance in the international market. How is that alliance working out in India?

AM: Our alliance is a key part of our success in India. We are the third largest car exporter in India with more than 100,000 units being shipped to 106 countries each year.


"Nissan has contributed over rs.30,000 cr in forex to the indian economy"


TDB: In what segments can we expect to see new and exciting launches from NMIPL for car enthusiasts?

AM: As I said, we are seeing exciting times in terms of our sales volume, growth rate and brand visibility. We have recently launched Datsun redi-GO and Style’ editions of Datsun GO and GO+. We are also gearing up for the upcoming festive season and will be launching best in class products for our customers.

TDB: What role should the government play when it comes to providing a boost to the automobile sector?

AM: I think the government of India is taking some serious steps to give a boost to the automobile sector. The recent announcement of the GST is a great example. With the GST coming in, we think the automotive sector will be one of the most positively impacted sectors.

TDB: What is your take on 'Make in India' campaign? How has it worked out for the Indian automobile sector?

AM: I am a firm believer of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. As a company we are happy that Nissan’s exports have
contributed to the economy by generating foreign exchange of over Rs.30,000 crore. Our team is working hard to contribute more by stepping up our