Meeting the expectations of car buyers while working to strict cost targets was the biggest challenge for Nissan’s team of engineers in India and Japan, Vincent Cobee, global head of Datsun has revealed to Autocar India. While the Datsun Go’s development programme focussed on frugal engineering and “getting things right the first time”, Cobee also gave an insight on how Nissan optimised costs by focussing on the things that matter to Indian customers.
“When you put money in a car, you need to be sure you do something that a customer appreciates,” he said. “We have been putting money into acceleration, space and fuel economy, because these are aspects very relevant to target customers. Some aspects which are relevant in the United States or Europe may not have value here.”
Speaking specifically on how Indian customers’ expectations differ from those of buyers elsewhere across the world, Cobee said, “Noise is a very interesting aspect. Indian buyers accept ambient noise, but noise from the car’s mechanicals, such as from the suspension, become a concern. So to some extent engine sound insulation may not be as important as suspension noise.”
In our first drive impression of the Datsun Go, we pointed out that road and wind noise did get intrusive, particularly at high speeds. With no insulation under the Go’s bonnet or cladding inside the rear wheel wells, it’s not hard to see where Datsun has pared costs on this front. What remains to be seen, however, is if the high levels of noise become a big enough issue for customers that it forces Datsun to re-think buyer expectations.