To launch new models in the next two years

Nissan plans to attack the huge compact car market in India with two all-new models that will sit below the Micra in the Japanese company's model range.

The first model (code: K2) will be built on a two-generation old Micra platform (code: K11) but will get a new ‘top-hat' or all new body and interio

rs. The K2 which is due for launch in December 2012 will be priced competitively at around Rs 3.5 lakh. Engine options are likely to be the same 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol motor that powers the Micra although a highly fuel-efficient 1-litre engine is also being considered.

The K2 will come with two wheelbases; the longer version will be for export markets. Nissan is also considering an MPV version of the K2 to cater to the Indonesian market where this body style is extremely popular.

According to sources in Nissan, using the defunct K11 platform has resulted in savings of around Rs. 50,000 and critical to meeting the stiff target price.

Even more ambitious is the cheaper entry level hatchback (code: I2) that Nissan is developing to compete head on with the Alto. The I2 is being developed by Defiance Testing and Engineering, a U.S. company acquired in 2007 by Ashok Leyland, Nissan's joint-venture partner in India.

Ashok Leyland will take the lead in developing the I2 and to keep costs down a significant amount of engineering work will be carried out in India. Nissan hopes to sell the I2 for around Rs. 2.5 lakh.

The I2 is likely to be launched in 2013.

Nissan also has the option to use Bajaj's ultra-low cost car (ULC) though it's not clear if the ULC will form a part of Nissan's India range.

Keywords: Nissan Micra