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Wednesday, Jan 07, 2004

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SUV to mark Nissan's re-entry into India

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Jan. 6

NISSAN Motor Company, the third-largest automaker in Japan, is set to enter the Indian market by launching its sports utility vehicle, X-TRAIL.

Nissan will launch the SUV as a completely built unit (CBU), an industry source has said. "Everything is well set for the launch. The top officials of Nissan will be here during the Auto Expo to announce detailed plans for the Indian market," he told Business Line.

Currently, the X-TRAIL is undergoing homologation at the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) at Pune. An ARAI official confirmed that the vehicle is being tested.

The X-TRAIL, which Nissan sells in many countries in Europe, Asia and West Asia, will be launched with a diesel engine. Initially, it will be available in select cities only. Dealers have also been finalised, the source said.

In India, the X-TRAIL will compete with SUVs such as Honda CR-V, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Forrester, Hyundai Terracan and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Industry sources say Nissan is also planning to launch a sedan in India in the future. A company spokesman had stated in Japan a few months ago that Nissan would sell its Sunny midsize car in India and has applied to the Government for approvals. This vehicle may also come to India in the CBU form.

When Nissan rolls out X-TRAIL, it will be the company's second coming to India. In the 80s, Nissan had tied up with Hyderabad-based Allwyn to manufacture small trucks.

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