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Nissan Makes Delhi Auto Expo Debut

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January 6 — Delhi — Nissan made a first-ever appearance at the Delhi Auto Expo this week amid rapid sales growth in the world’s second most populous nation.

The Japanese automaker introduced the Evalia seven-seater passenger vehicle and showed a fuel-sipping diesel version of the Sunny, as the models shared the limelight with Bollywood star and Nissan brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor.

Building on the success of the Chennai-built Micra and Sunny sedans, the Evalia will help Nissan reach a 100,000-vehicle annual sales goal in India by 2013 compared with just 400 in 2009, as part of longer term plans to significantly raise market share, said Corporate Vice President Gilles Normand.

“Today we are at market share of 1.5% in India, and as we said globally, we want 8% for Power 88,” Normand said, adding that the same ratio, in time, is achievable in the South Asian nation. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to capture similar share in India.”

Delhi Auto Expo 2012 runs through Jan. 12 and features about 50 new vehicle launches, aiming to build on 2010, which the organizers claimed was the second most visited auto show globally.

Industry-wide sales growth slowed in the second half of 2011, but the Delhi show’s rise to global prominence and space constraints meant it turned down dozens of exhibitors this year, highlighting long-term expectations for India.

“India is still about a fifth of the size of China. I would expect growth in Indian car sales, which were below 2 million last year, to grow at an average of about 10% a year over the next five years,” said Ashvin Chotai, managing director of consulting company Intelligence Automotive Asia.

For dealerships like Nath Nissan near Delhi, the biennial event adds momentum to already fast-growing sales that reached 200 units a month last year, with the diesel Sunny expected to further boost demand.

“We’re participating in the Auto Expo this time and it’s a big thing for us,” said manager Mohd. Rizwan Rizvi.  “The best thing is that we’re here and with good, competitive models with a good price.”

India is an important market for Nissan’s mid-term growth strategy, and this year’s Delhi debut marks a its commitment to further sales expansion.

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