Nissan’s low cost car brand aimed at emerging car markets, Datsun, will unveil the first of its small cars in the middle of 2013. The Datsun small car will be launched in India in early 2014, with an unveil of the production version of the car to happen at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. India will get another Datsun small car in 2014. In the same year, Russia and Indonesia are expected to get a low cost sedan and a low cost hatchback respectively. In India, the two Datsun small cars will be positioned in the 2-3 lakh rupee segment and the 3-4 lakh rupee segment respectively.
Previous Generation Nissan Micra Hatchback used as an illustration
This will allow Nissan to sell its Datsun cars without cannibalizing its own entry level small car, the Micra hatchback. The Datsun small cars are expected to use older platforms of previous generation Nissan hatchbacks like the Micra, in order to keep costs to the barest minimum. Since a new platform would take years of development and a high amount of investment, Nissan has chosen to use its older car platforms for the Datsun range. In Russia, the Lada Granta platform is expected to play host to the Datsun low cost sedan sold in that part of the world.
Both small cars sold under the Datsun brand in India are expected to be petrol powered. These cars are expected to come with a decent amount of kit given that even entry level car buyers expect a modicum of creature comforts in their cars. The Datsun cars will challenge the likes of the Maruti Alto, the Hyundai Eon, the Maruti WagonR and the Maruti A-Star. Currently Datsun cars are being developed by Nissan engineers and it remains to be seen whether Nissan India will establish a new distribution and service network for the Datsun cars or whether the low cost cars would be sold through Nissan’s existing dealership network.
We’re putting our money on Nissan India using its existing network as the time and effort to set up a pan-India dealership chain to sell a high volume low cost small car is something that could take a couple of years. With 2014 approaching fast and with Nissan India showing no signs of calling entrepreneurs to become Datsun dealers, it appears that the Datsun cars will be sold through Nissan India’s existing dealership chain. Time then, to begin the countdown for the firs Datsun low cost car model that’ll be unveiled by the middle of this year.