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Evaluating the Evalia

Nissan Executives Andy Palmer and Hideto Murakami discuss the Evalia at the Delhi Auto Expo 2012

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I’m just back at Nissan’s Yokohama headquarters after a fascinating few days in Delhi for the Auto Expo 2012, where Nissan is making a first-ever appearance. If you’re in India’s capital, the show runs until Jan. 12 and is well worth a visit.

The star of Nissan stand on the opening day was undoubtedly brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor, whose appearance briefly triggered chaos among the media corps. Still, reaction to Nissan’s newly unveiled Evalia passenger van ran the 29-year-old Bollywood actor a close second.

Ranbir Kapoor with the Nissan Evalia

The Evalia, set to go on sale in the middle of this year, is based on the NV200 van – an electric version of which is being shown currently at Detroit – and poised to challenge Toyota’s Innova in India, one of the world’s fastest growing auto markets.

The locally built Evalia will eventually be joined by another NV200-based model in India,  the Stile, which Nissan’s local partner Ashok Leyland unveiled at the Delhi show and says will target commercial customers.

Nissan's new Evalia at the Delhi Auto Expo

In the video (above) Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer and Hideto Murakami, corporate vice president with responsibility for the company’s LCV business, discuss the Evalia and why India is set to become an important market for the company.

Here’s a transcript of their comments:

Q1. What are your thoughts on the Evalia?

EVP Andy Palmer:

The new car, the Evalia, really is defining a new segment in India. It’s not quite MPV, it’s kind of a utility vehicle, really designed for urban life.  Of course, it’s based on the NV200 but it’s been reconfigured through the joint venture with Ashok Leyland to make it something that under the Ashok Leyland badge can appeal to the pure business-to-business type of customer, but under the Nissan badge really walks into the passenger-vehicle area and basically gives a true competitor to vehicles like the Toyota Innova.

Q2. What’s the difference between the Evalia and the NV200 global model?

CVP Hideto Murakami:

The NV200 is a global model already launched in Japan, Europe and China so we brought this model to the Indian market. However, depending on the market, we change the taste, the performance, the spec slightly — to match with customer demand.  So that’s why for the India market we bring this vehicle as a multipurpose vehicle.

Talking about the production differentiation, for the Nissan badge, we introduced the product for multipurpose usage—between LCV usage and passenger car usage.  On the other hand, for Ashok Leyland badge, we intend to introduce a pure light commercial [vehicle for] van usage. Between the Ashok Leyland badge and the Nissan badge we created a clear differentiation so that the customer doesn’t confuse anything.

Rear view of the Evalia

 

Q3. Why was it important to attend the Delhi Auto Expo and show the Evalia?

EVP Andy Palmer:

This is the first time that Nissan has been at this show and I think that gives you an indication of many things. It gives you a clear sign that Nissan takes India seriously, but also that India is very important—not only to Nissan but to the global motor industry.

This is one of the BRICs, as a subcontinent it has a huge opportunity to grow, it’s a very sophisticated market, actually, and for Nissan ultimately we envisage having at least 8% market share here.  It’s very important that we be here and send a message of what is Nissan.  It’s okay having TV ads –you get 30 seconds to show the car—but a show like this is an opportunity to explain to many Indian journalists and Indian customers what Nissan stands for.

 

 

Ian Rowley

Deputy editor

Cars, Design, Management, Motor Shows, Product Launch

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