Monday, October 17, 2011

New Nissan Sunny

Last year a buddy of mine was car shopping and we had a lot of fun in the initial stages coz we were test driving some of the really high end models like the then brand new Nissan Maxima, which is a superawesome car btw, and the Nissan Altima Coupe amongst others, yup I know these are not really 'high end' cars but they are really cool cars especially for my friend who was a total novice driver with a shiny new driving licence. Well due to some unexplainable reason my dreams of test driving all the awesome cars in Oman were cut short and my buddy surprised or rather shocked me by picking up a 2010 Nissan Sunny (this model name refers to Nissan Sunny in Oman, its called the Nissan Almera in other parts of the world, and in some places its called the Nissan Pulsar or Sentra). One of the major reason cited was that the car would fetch a good resale value when sold the next year, the plan was to upgrade to a bigger and better car once the basics of driving were mastered. Well this gave me an opportunity to learn a lot more about Nissan and the particular model in question, the Nissan Sunny.

Nissan as a company is a very very cautious player, they have seen both the highest peaks of automotive success and the lowest valleys of failure. Their VQ series of engines have been placed in the Ward's 10 best engines for 14 straight years! Despite having a pretty awesome market-share and technical expertise, they were up to their eyeballs in financial woes towards the end of the 20th century (dramatic isn't it, when we say end of the 20th century? its actually simply the year 1999 that I was referring to ;-) ). Nissan made a stunning and dramatic fairy-tale recovery led by the then Renault COO and now Japanese superstar Carlos Ghosn, pretty accurately decribed in the Nissan Wikipedia entry :

"Under CEO Ghosn's "Nissan Revival Plan" (NRP), the company has rebounded in what many leading economists consider to be one of the most spectacular corporate turnarounds in history, catapulting Nissan to record profits and a dramatic revitalization of both its Nissan and Infiniti model line-ups. In 2001, the company initiated Nissan 180, capitalizing on the success of the NRP. The targets set with 180 were an additional sale of 1 million cars, achieving operating margins of 8%, and to have zero automotive debts. Ghosn has been recognized in Japan for the company's turnaround in the midst of an ailing Japanese economy. Ghosn and the Nissan turnaround were featured in Japanese manga and popular culture. His achievements in revitalizing Nissan were noted by Japanese Government, which awarded him the Japan Medal with Blue Ribbon in 2004."

To cut a long story short, there were a lot changes in Nissan and its product portfolio, but they really were not in a position to revamp their entire model lineup nor could they introduce a new model every year or two, like their biggest rival Toyota was doing. But I guess the wait was worth it because now not only is Nissan a business success, but their models are some of the best in their respective classes. The Nissan Maxima and the GT-R are prime examples. Well you can't deny that they have made a few gigantic unforgivable mistakes as well like the Nissan Micra, Richard Hammond of TopGear actually masked his face with a paper bag while test-driving it coz the Micra looked so disgusting (and yeah he ditched the car midway through the test coz he just couldn't go on)! Well the Nissan Sunny is a car that has been around for a long time. Once a major threat to the Corollas and the Civics of the world, they were soon too out dated to be a threat for even entry-level cars. It may seem unbelievable and blasphemy but Nissan have been selling almost the exact same car from 1995 to mid 2011. That's a whopping 16 years of running the same model!!! There have obviously been a few cosmetic changes but it clearly wasn't enough to entice the average buyer. Most of the purchases were by either government or fleet customers who cared only about the price of the car and nothing else.
From 1995
To 2011
Well after all those years, Nissan has finally decided to introduce a new Nissan Sunny and it looks pretty good. The rear is definitely inspired by the Maxima while the front bears more than a passing resemblance to the outgoing model. Everything has been made completely up to date. I believe there is a lot in common with the new Sunny and the Renault models, particularly the Fluence. Well my buddy who bought the older Sunny right about when it was going to be phased out is in for a shock, because its resale value has gone for a toss now with this spanking new model out, but if nothing else, the older model is sturdy, coz it has made it across quite a few pavements, traffic light islands and unpaved roads in one piece and in the hands of a wannabe rally driver ;-)!

The New Nissan Sunny....It's not a Car it's Caaaaar (The Indian ad sucks I tell you!!!)