After about three decades in hibernation, affordable Japanese brand Datsun is going to be woken up by parent company Nissan. Datsun dates back to 1914 in Japan, and was acquired by Nissan in 1934 before being put to sleep in 1986.
The stereotype Datsun car was lightweight, economical and tough-enough to withstand the daily drudgery of a middle class first-time owner. As the Japanese moved towards more affluent times, Datsun had to be phased out by Nissan in the 1980’s.
Decades later, Datsun’s principles are finding a connect with the aspirations of the emerging middle class in emerging economies like Russia, India and China. Affordable to own and maintain, these cars would help Nissan establish a strong foothold in these markets by raking up good sales in the volume-intensive entry-level segment.
As if to reiterate the importance of the Indian market, Nissan overlord Carlos Ghosn has chosen New Delhi as the venue for unveiling the first Datsun brand. The event is scheduled for the 15th July this year, at Kingdom of Dreams, an entertainment joint and a tourist spot in New Delhi.
Here are the probable models of the Datsun:-
- B-Segment K2 prototype: It would be a B-plus segment car. Priced around 4 lakhs INR, it would wrestle it out with the Liva, Figo and Ritz.
- A-Segment I2 Prototype: Nissan has penned all their hopes on this car. It will follow the K2’s launch, and would be up against the Alto, Eon and Nano at a price tag of 2-2.5 lakhs INR. It will be powered by the 1.2L petrol mill of the Micra.
- MPV based on K2: This model will not be an early-bird. Expect it to be showcased sometime after the premiere of the I2. This model is designed to fight it out in the utility segment against the Ertiga.
A point worth mentioning is that all these Datsun cars will be brand new ones and not rebadged & re-engineered Nissans. This holds true especially for the I2 prototype, and it will not be a re-tweaked Micra. Nissan also looks forward to providing a premium feel to the buyers, by creating nice interiors with quality material. They are of the opinion that stripping down or rebadging an existing model is not a long-term success formula, and they will go the extra mile to provide value for the customer’s bucks.
Quite a few challenges remain ahead of Nissan.
- Maruti-Suzuki :- Interesting to see if Datsun can break the vice-like grip of Maruti-Suzuki on the Indian market. Four of their cars made to the list of top-five selling cars in India last fiscal.
- Localization :- It will be a big challenge to localize parts and their production. The Indian market is one of the murkiest ones for auto manufacturers, with prices floating around the lowest levels and thus leaving little space for profits. It’s cut-throat competition!
- Brand Connect: – There’s confusion regarding Nissan Micra and Renault Pulse. Throw in another egg-shaped car and you are sure to take an image beating!
The only thing Datsun can look forward to is to take a leaf out of Nissan’s book on its travails in the Indian market.
Source: Economic Times