Nissan is all set to bring back the Datsun brand after 32 years to markets like India, Russia, Indonesia and South Africa.
The world premiere of the new Datsun nameplate will be at the Kingdom of Dreams in New Delhi on July 15. Carlos Ghosn, global CEO of Renault-Nissan, is expected to unveil the first Datsun model, which will be a five-door hatchback in the sub-Rs-four-lakh category.
Nissan is banking heavily on the Datsun brand, which is targeted at the budget end of the market where there are huge volumes. The Japanese company expects to sell around 1,50,000 to 2,00,000 Datsun-badged cars in India every year. The new brand hopes to use a blend of affordability and aspiration to hook the vast Indian middle-class into buying Datsun cars. "India is a tough market and it’s not going to be a picnic for us, but we believe Datsun can crack it with modernity and a superior product." said Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president, Datsun Business Unit.
As you can see from the teaser image, styling is going to be a key differentiator. The Datsun family face will sport a compact but prominent hexagonal grille to distinguish it from other brands. The rest of the car too is expected to come with some stand-out design elements without compromising on practicality.
Datsun’s first model for India will be a five-door hatchback (internal code: K2), which will be powered by the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol in the Micra. There is no diesel version planned. In terms of size, the Datsun will be almost as spacious as a Micra but considerably lighter. According to the Datsun team, performance is expected to be far superior to the competition, whilst fuel efficiency will match the best in-class.
Datsun is likely to share the same dealer network with Nissan but will have its own distinct showroom area built to the Datsun brand’s guidelines. However, in smaller towns, where there is no Nissan outlet, standalone Datsun dealerships could be set up.
The first Datsun hatchback is expected to hit Indian roads in mid-2014 with a base price of around Rs 3 lakh. Nissan is targeting the highly successful Hyundai i10 with what it says is a far superior value for money proposition.