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India is a very important market for any brand because it along with Africa and Middle East markets accounts for 10% of global volume and success in these regions is vital for any automobile company.

Raghunath C Nair heads the South Asia Business Unit at Nissan Motor Corporation. He has been associated with Nissan for over 12 years in across various verticals, positions and countries. Nair holds an MBA degree from the University of Calicut and certified in Executive General Management from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Nair was in Nepal recently for the launch of the much awaited Nissan Magnite and spoke to B360 about the launch and why the urban SUV is deemed as the key to turning the wheels of fortune for Nissan. Excerpts:

Nissan has probably not had the desired outcomes in your largest market in South Asia – India, what went wrong?

Nothing went wrong. It’s just something where you don’t get everything correct. India is a very diverse market and it’s not guaranteed that every product launched in India will become successful.
The Nissan Magnite is being deemed as the saviour model in various media reports, also seen as the car that will revive the brand. Your comments.

The media reports are concerned with the Indian market and we are overwhelmed by the number of booking received for Nissan Magnite in the first three days and also up till now. The model that has been accepted wholeheartedly by the Indian customers and acceptance of the product depends totally on the customers no matter the amount of marketing done for the product. We want to be successful in Nepal as well and build the brand which is why Nepal is the only country besides India where we’ve launched Magnite.

Will only the price as the most affordable urban SUV be enough for the consumer? What are the sales goals of Nissan Magnite? What can the consumer look forward to?

I wouldn’t say that Nissan Magnite is the most affordable urban SUV but I would rather say that the product is priced correctly as per the offered features and specifications. We have more than 10 variants of Magnite starting from XE Base to XV Premium-Dual Turbo and we also have a tech pack provision for tech-savvy customers which will soon be introduced in Nepal. So Magnite covers all the aspect of our potential customers from aspirant to tech-savvy to power-loving customers.

Our sales goals is that we want to be the best brand in Nepal and offer products that customers would want to own. Our Datsun and Nissan products have been very well-accepted by the Nepali customers. We understand the needs and want to cater to customers by bringing in products accordingly; Magnite is one such product.

We are also looking into bringing in products like Nissan Novara which is a 4X4 pick-up truck, Nissan Patrol which is Nissan’s flagship large SUV model, and Nissan Leaf EV which is the world’s best-selling electric car.

You personally have a huge background in corporate communications and marketing strategy, do you think the Nissan communication is in sync with its consumers in Nepal, or can you define who Nissan consumer is?

Yes, the national distributor of Datsun and Nissan in Nepal, Pioneer Moto Corp, is handling the marketing and sales of both brands in Nepal outstandingly since our partnership in 2014 which is why Nepal is the second market where we’ve launched Nissan Magnite. The customer base has been growing exceptionally in Nepal and through the sales results we can clearly see Nepalis are appreciating our products.

We don’t confine ourselves to a particular consumer or market segment. Every individual from an aspirant customer who is looking forward to shift from two-wheelers to four-wheelers, to adventurous, tech-savvy, luxury-seeking and environment-concerned customers are our consumers because we offer various products for various consumer segments.

What is the conversion from other brands to Nissan been like in the Indian market? What do you foresee for Nepal?

India is a very important market for any brand because it along with Africa and Middle East markets accounts for 10% of global volume and success in these regions is vital for any automobile company. As per the consumer behaviour it can be seen that if a product is good, Indians accept it. So, it is significant for any brand to tap the majority consumer segment if they want to be successful in India. Though our sales have plummeted in recent years in India, Nissan has been recognised for its engineering and because of all the positive reviews we have received it seems we are back into the game with the recent launch of Magnite in India.

As for Nepal, it has been one of the important markets for us since our partnership with Pioneer Moto Corp in 2014. We have been reported that there have been a large number of brand conversions to Datsun and Nissan products from other brands. Also, aspirant customers have been choosing our Datsun products like Go and redi-GO as their first car which is a delight for any automobile company.

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