Nissan had launched its supposedly bread and butter Micra hatchback way back in 2010. Though Nissan Micra was appreciated by everyone for its good build quality, inclusion of features such as push start button and standard driver airbag across the range, the rounded looks and the ubiquitous grey theme did not go well with the buyers.
Its trysts with its then Indian partner Hover Automotives did not go well either and Micra was not churning enough sales numbers to satisfy the top management. Mid life facelifts, price corrections did not help the Japanese company and seven years for a hatchback in the Indian market is a bit big on the tooth.
Finally, Nissan has realised it and is planning to launch an all new Nissan Micra hatchback, probably by 2019. The Indian bound Nissan Micra will have the same design language as that of the international version which was launched last year.
Unlike the Euro-spec hatchback (K14) that is based on Nissan’s V platform, the India-spec Nissan Micra will be underpinned by the far more cost-effective CMF A+ platform which is Renault Nissan’s answer to cost effective and cheap engineering for emerging markets.
Nissan is betting heavily on its localisation to keep the costs low. Since, the India bound Nissan Sunny which is supposed to be launched next year shall also be based on the same platform, it will prove cost effective for Nissan to use the same. In addition, Nissan might throw in the group’s new 1.5 litre petrol unit which was launched recently in the Renault’s Duster under the hood of its Micra and Sunny models.
While no diesel engine is expected with the new Micra, the X-Tronic CVT automatic gearbox will be offered as an option to a five-speed manual.
While, though the hatchback market is tilting towards petrol, it might still not be a wise idea to launch a model without a diesel option. Nevertheless, when launched, the Micra model will be put bang in the middle of the fiercely competed segment dominated by the likes of Maruti Baleno, Swift and Hyundai i20.