The Nissan Kicks SUV, which made its international debut in 2016 in Brazil will be launched in India in the 3rd quarter of 2018, according to firm sources. However, unlike the South-American model, which is turned off Nissan’s V-platform, the made for India Kicks will be based on the upcoming Renault Kaptur’s platform. This is fundamentally an altered version of Renault’s proven M0 platform that underpins cars like the Lodgy and Duster, which are known for their robust mechanicals. The M0 is also a critical part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s platform strategy in India, which is essentially centred on two platforms. Whilst the CMF-A and CMF-A+ platforms underpin Nissan (and later Mitsubishi’s) and Renault’s small to average- sized car range in India, the M0 platform will cater to higher end products. The low-cost M0 platform has proved to be a cash cow for Renault internationally and is preferably suited for markets like India. The alliance’s European specification CMF-B platform was also evaluated initially but was finally rejected as it proved to be a lot more luxurious than the M0 which has also been localized over the years. Developed and conceived originally by Renault for its Dacia sub-brand over a decade ago, the French auto-maker has first rights to products spun off the M0 platform, and hence, like the Nissan’s compact suv Terrano which followed the Renault Duster, the Nissan Kicks too will follow the Renault Kaptur to India but almost a year later.
While both the Kicks and Kaptur will use the same altered version of the platform, the ‘top hats’ will be totally different. The Kicks design and styling will mirror the South American car and that’s no bad thing. Harshly styled, with lots of distinctive design touches like a floating roof, massive wheel arches and a wraparound visor look, the Kicks will not have a problem standing out on Indian roads.
The good thing is that the edgy design has not negotiated practicality and Nissan claims best in class space in the back seat. Cars based on the M0 platform get a choice of just 2 engines, a 1.6 petrol and the venerable 1.5 K9-K diesel, and hence these are likely to be carried forward into the Kicks as well. The 1.5 diesel is probable to be the mainstay but it is likely that in its newest iteration there will be a small bump up in torque and power. Nissan has set a determined target of 30,000 Kicks in its first full year of production with an additional 20,000 units earmarked for exports. Pricing will be critical for the Kicks’ success and Nissan may do well to undercut its rivals to buy some much required market share.