Nissan unveils new 'Sunny' sedan; launch set for October

Nissan Motor India, an arm of Japan's Nissan Motor Co, today unveiled a mid-sized sedan, to be manufactured at its Chennai plant in India, as the Japanese carmaker seeks to boost sales in Asia's third-largest automobile market.

Nissan plans to start selling the car, Sunny, in October. It will be Nissan's second model to be produced at its Chennai factory after the Micra, and is part of five models that the automaker plans to make locally.

Nissan Renault's earlier Indian venture with Mahindra & Mahindra failed after their joint product, the Logan, proved a drag on the market. After that, it launched its own production factory jointly with its international partner Renault SA of France. The Micra has managed to make some dent in the market.

Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and chief executive of Nissan Motor India, said at the launch show in Mumbai that the Sunny will help the company drive up its local sales to 40,000 units in the current financial year. It sold 13,030 vehicles in the past financial year.

The Chennai factory, equally owned by Nissan and Renault, is expected to have a capacity to produce 400,000 vehicles a year by the middle of 2012; with the current capacity pegged at 200,000 units, half of which it plans to export.

In a press conference in Mumbai, Nissan said that based on its study of customer demand for an affordable mid-sized sedan, it has decided to enter the segment with a car based on the V-platform, the same as that of the Micra.
The new Sunny has sold 75,000 units in six months in China.