Production of the 2011 Nissan Micra subcompact started on Monday in India. The model will go on sale in India in July and in Europe this November. In a statement, Nissan Motor Co. said that the first Micra hatchback, which Nissan claims is "the benchmark city car in Europe," started rolling out of its factory near the southern city of Chennai.
Indian showrooms will display this car starting May 25, which also marks the day when orders can be taken. Nissan Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga describes this car as having been designed with the "discerning consumer needs of India" in mind.
The fourth-generation Micra will be exported to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Production of the Micra had been moved from Nissan's plant in Sunderland, England, to its unit in India.
This manufacturing unit, in which Nissan along with its alliance partner Renault SA is investing 45 billion rupees ($965.7 million) over seven years, can produce 400,000 units annually. This unit will also be used by the partners as a global hub for exports. Competition is fierce in India's small car segment, which is about 70% of the total passenger car market.
The widely regarded leader in this segment is Maruti Suzuki, which produces brands such as the best-selling Alto, Swift and Ritz hatchbacks.
The Nissan Micra was designed using the V-platform with the aim of appealing to a wide-range of customers, ranging from an already developed market or to an emerging one. Though the Micra was designed and later tested in Japan, it was modified to ensure that it is able to meet the varying preferences of students around the world.
As such, in addition to having a pleasing appearance, it was engineered to make handling easier and to ensure a good performance while fuel efficiency is maintained. One impressive feature is that not only is it built from scratch but more than 85% of the parts used are obtained from a total of 96 local vendors, 50% of which are in Chennai.
The plant continues to operate in accordance with quality standards and even that of Alliance global manufacturing processes. The production management system used is founded on the sharing of knowledge and the best practices of Nissan and Renault, a first for these two companies.
As a result, the plant is able to effortlessly combine to initiate the production of vehicles from these two companies even when on the same line. Nissan is also planning to use the Chennai plant as its hub for worldwide exports.
Production of the Micra is expected by July 2010 with the first shipment targeted to start by September 2010. The company hopes to export its products to more than 100 countries that include those in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.