Nissan might have only just launched the Micra facelift in India, but it isn’t resting. Our sources say the company is readying a facelift of its popular entry-level sedan, the Sunny on similar lines as the Micra. When quizzed, Nissan officials chose not to comment.
The new Sunny, which will be launched with a limited edition model, will get new headlamps, a new grille, a new front bumper and more chrome accents similar to what we have already witnessed on the 2013 Micra. Inside, expect the car to get an additional glovebox in the top of the line model and upgraded plastic. The trim levels will be tweaked slightly as well. Apart from the existing trims, Nissan will also add the XV Premium trim which will sport a reversing camera and four airbags instead of two available on the current car’s top trim, the XV.
Mechanically, the Sunny will remain unchanged. It will continue to sport 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines, both coupled with manual transmissions. The petrol in the top of the line XV trim will also be available with a CVT transmission.
What’s more, the Sunny will retain its USP of offering tremendous knee room for its rear passengers, which is not just best in its segment, but better than cars that cost nearly twice as much. And along with a pliant low speed ride quality, the Sunny will continue to remain the best chauffeur-driven car in its class.
However, even with these USPs, the Sunny has not been selling well lately. According to SIAM data, the Sunny only managed to sell 1,110 units in May this year, a drop of over 50 per cent compared to the same time last year. The company dealers blame the car’s uninspiring looks as one of the main reasons for the lacklustre sales of the car. Having more modern looking competition from better established brands haven’t made things easier for the Sunny either.
We expect the facelift, which should help the Sunny project a younger, more youthful image bedsides packing in noteworthy equipment even on the cheaper versions, and of course a more aggressive price tag, will find more buyers.
Nissan could also bring in an entry-level version of the Sunny on similar lines as the Micra Active to bring up the total sales count. This version will take on the Dzire in terms of pricing but could sport less flashy interiors, smaller wheels and a detuned petrol engine to enhance fuel economy. This strategy will allow Nissan to move the Sunny upmarket and closer to the likes of City and Rapid in terms of positioning, though at a more competitive price.
As for the basic version — lets call it the Sunny Active borrowing from Micra’s naming strategy — could be sold in three versions. The entry-level with very basic kit like power steering and air conditioning could carry a sensationally low price tag to draw in customers, while the remaining two should match the Dzire, spec for spec.