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July 16, 2020

Can new Magnite SUV revive Nissan India?

Calendar 2020 has been a torrid time for Nissan Motor India, the division's namesake brand selling a mere 70 vehicles last month and only 1,423 for the year to the end of June. The newly announced Magnite mini-SUV therefore has a lot resting on its shoulders.

Calendar 2020 has been a torrid time for Nissan Motor India, the division’s namesake brand selling a mere 70 vehicles last month and only 1,423 for the year to the end of June. The newly announced Magnite mini-SUV therefore has a lot resting on its shoulders.

Even though the brand has never been a big name in the local market, Nissan did at least fare quite well for a time with Datsun. The low-cost marque’s sales dropped by 55% to 506 cars in June, whereas the overall market fell by 47%. Year to date, Datsun deliveries have plummeted to 2,797 (-71%).

Now, with the Magnite , revealed online as a concept but looking just about production-ready, Nissan is changing tack, trying to reinvigorate its performance and adding a model in one of the market’s largest segments.

The positioning and size is below the Kicks, so sub-4 m in length. Engine details are yet to be announced. Competitors include Maruti Suzuki’s Brezza, the Hyundai Venue and the soon to be revealed KIA Sonet.

Production, originally due to commence in August, has been delayed by COVID-19 until year-end.

The Magnite and Renault ‘s imminent Kiger are part of the same project. The Nissan was supposed to be launched first (as a Datsun) but it will follow the Kiger into production at the Alliance ‘s Oragadam plant in Tamil Nadu.

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