The curious case of Magnite SUV, the one-car army for Nissan in India

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  • Magnite is a stellar success for Nissan in India. But take it out of the equation and Nissan has nothing else to show in its portfolio here.
File photo of Nissan Magnite sub-compact SUV.

It was 2020 and it was the final month of what was a Covid-ravaged year. The global automotive market was wading through uncharted waters and closer home, carmakers in India were keeping cards close to the chest as well. For Nissan, it was a battle of survival in the market here as its portfolio looked bare and barren. All hopes were pinned on a sub-compact SUV that was seen by many as a do-or-die offering. Over three years since its global debut in India in December of 2020, Nissan Magnite, however, has managed to not just survive but thrive.

Nissan put all its proverbial eggs into the boot of this one model. The bet has worked for most parts with the company recently informing that Magnite has now seen three consecutive years where sales have topped 30,000 in the domestic market. According to the Japanese carmaker, it sold 30,146 units in financial year 2023. In FY22, 32,546 units of the Magnite were sold while 33,905 units were sold in FY21. While the numbers may show a slight dip, these are still impressive figures considering the volumes Nissan was pulling in prior to Magnite’s launch.

Also watch: Nissan Magnite EZ Shift AMT review: Is it better than the CVT?

What has worked for Nissan Magnite?

The Magnite is a smart and modern-looking car that competes in the B-SUV segment in the Indian market. In other words, it finds a place in the starting end of the sub-compact SUV segment in the market and competes against the likes of Renault Kiger, Hyundai Exter, Maruti Suzuki Fronx and Tata Punch.

Apart from its looks, the Magnite comes relatively packed with features and has a spacious cabin. Two engine options and multiple transmission choices – including the introduction of the AMT version in October of 2023 – has helped its cause as well.

But the biggest strength of the Magnite has been its competitive pricing. At first launch, the base version was cleverly priced at just under 5 lakh. At present, the price range of Magnite is between 6 lakh and 11 lakh (before taxes).

What could be a challenge for Magnite and Nissan?

Magnite was launched in a lucrative segment and had a compelling price point. But over the past three years, newer models have also been introduced by rivals, either as a direct or indirect competitor. The likes of Exter and Fronx have been faring strong, for instance. Magnite may not have the ‘newness’ it once enjoyed.

For Nissan, the portfolio in India remains bony dry if the Magnite is taken out of consideration. The company has had to rely on special edition models of Magnite – Kuro and Geza for instance, to retain the buzz. For how long will Magnite carry Nissan on its shoulders in India remains to be seen.

First Published Date: 23 Apr 2024, 13:06 PM IST

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