Nissan Could Sell $3000 Car Worldwide

And yes, that includes the United States…

By Brendan Moore

10.25.2007

Carlos Ghosn, the irrepressible interview subject that he is, said today at the Tokyo Auto Show that he thinks the $3000 car that Nissan is developing with Bajaj, an Indian motorcycle manufacturer, could be sold everywhere in the world, including the United States.

Indian manufacturer Tata plans on bringing their own $3000 car to market in 2008 and Renault is racing to match their imminent offering.

“Even if you have to reinforce the car” to meet U.S. crash-safety regulations and add features, “you’re starting with a $3,000 car,” Ghosn said. That low price leaves headroom to push up the cost, and thus the price, and still undercut the cheapest cars sold in many other markets, he said.

“What’s the cheapest car sold in America — $10,000? Between 3 and 10 is a large difference,” he said.

Yes, all those statements are true, but Nissan (and Carlos Ghosn) said just six months ago that they were not considering selling the Nissan Aprio (aka the Renault Logan) in the United States because it would dilute Nissan’s brand image. The Renault Logan, also sold as the Dacia Logan, is the entry-level car that has taken the world by storm, morphing into a huge hit for Renault and one of the company’s biggest sellers. The Nissan Aprio will be sold in Mexico shortly for around $9000 MSRP.


So, if a $9000 car is too cheap for Nissan to sell in the U.S., how can a $3000 car now be OK to sell in the States?

Part of the reason is that Ghosn has taken a good look around and figured out that Chinese cars will here in the U.S. in the next few years. India can make a car as cheaply as China can, whether that car ends up being priced at $3000, $5000 or $7000. Ghosn wants Nissan to be in that mix, so it’s no surprise that he’s talking up his project entry-level car from India. And how much longer will Nissan be able to resist selling the higher-priced, but still ridiculously cheap Logan in the United States, considering it will be available right across the border shortly?

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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7 Comments

  1. For the life of me I cannot understand why Nissan isn’t selling that Logan here right now. I looked it up on Google and it is a good little car by all accounts. I don’t need an expensive car; just something to go from A to B that gets good gas mileage and won’t be crushed in an accident. The Logan looks like it fits the bill Why don’t we have it here?!?! Nissan could sell half a million of them in the first year, I think.

  2. Don’t care about the 3000 dollar car, but I’d like a crack at that Logan, that’s for sure.

  3. Strange they don’t want to bring the Logan in Canada and the US because it would dilute the Nissan brand image but they aren’t afraid to sell the 3000$ car project.

    However with the recent thread about Renault-Nissan looking for a 3rd partner (Ford or Chrysler). Maybe there some corrolation between the 3000$ car and the search for the 3rd parnter then I call partner “x”, by convincing a partner “x” to distribute it. I once said the Logan could be badged as a Dodge for a new Dart or Rambler (as for the Colt nameplate, I think Mitsubishi now owns the rights), this 3000$ car still cold sold as a Dodge (Hornet perhaps?) or even a revived Plymouth,(Valiant anyone?;-) )Plymouth was used once for the entry division and basic transportation and if it’s isn’t possible, revive Nash, Willys, Kaiser or Hudson instead.

    But if the partner “x” is Ford, it could be a new Escort or Tracer/Lynx/Bobcat for Mercury (in case if Ford Canada and/or Ford USA got the European next-gen Ford Ka using the Fiat 500 chassis, giving some additionnal line-up for Mercury).

  4. The Nissan Aprio could be THE entry-level car Nissan needs to welocme people into the Nissan family in the U.S. These guys have got to realize that at some point. I’m sure the Nissan dealers would love to have all of those extra sales and all of that extra foot traffic in the delaerships that a car like the Aprio would bring.

  5. I think if Nissan decides to sell cheaper cars than what they have now, they should do it under another brand. They’re already pretty far down market with the Versa. They shouldn’t go any further down because they will be sacrificing long-term brand value for short-term volume.

  6. What I think is that Carlos Ghosn has lost his marbles. I don’t think there is ever going to be a $3000 car, but if there is, Nissan would be crazy to sell it under the Nissan name. If he really believes this is a good idea, I think this raises serious questions about his mental state. If he knows this is a bad idea, and he’s just talking to get attention, then that makes him even more of an egomaniac than the usual CEO.

  7. Good Idea for Nissan people will flock to the dealership and buy this car,it make sense!!!

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