Nissan small car - Large ambitions

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Nissan has released sketches of its next global small car, destined for 150 countries, and the first car to roll out of its Oragadam plant in Tamil Nadu by April-May 2010.

To be produced in five countries, including Thailand, China and India, the small car is essentially nothing more than a Micra replacement. The "new" Micra, as it may be called will be larger and stiffer than its outgoing predecessor. Also called as the March in some markets, little has been revealed about the antecedents of this car.

The outgoing Micra/March had a range of four-cylinder engines, ranging from a 1.2-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol units, to a 1.5-litre diesel unit. Power ranged from 88 bhp to 125 bhp and was available in three-door, five-door and coupe/convertible formats. For India, it will be the five-door hatch that will be made available, and our guess is hinged on the same 1.2-litre petrol engine with 88 bhp (probably a three-cylinder) and the 1.5-litre dCi engine with 65 bhp, not very dissimilar to the unit on the Mahindra Renault Logan sold in our country.

Nissan is putting its Indian plans on fast forward as it plans to make up for lost time. Around nine models will be sold in India by 2012 and with increased sharing of parts and components with Renault being planned, the company will be hoping to keep costs of its small car low. Sources suggest that the small car will be priced around Rs 4-5.5 lakh, to take on the likes of Hyundai's i10 and Maruti Suzuki's Swift and Ritz head-on. The company also plans to have 55 dealerships by 2012, up from just 11 today. Watch this space for more updates and details on the small car.