Russia-spec Datsun cars to use Lada Kalina platform
Three countries will be at the fore of Datsun’s global strategy, India, Indonesia and Russia. While 2014 will see the launch of two hatchbacks in India and one hatchback in Indonesia, the same year is expected to see a hatchback and a sedan being launched in Russia. For the Russian market, Datsun is expected to use the Lada Kalina platform. The Lada Kalina platform already plays host to hatchbacks and sedans and in the same vein, Datsun cars sold in Russia are expected to be available in hatchback and sedan variants. Both cars will be positioned as low cost car models.
Renault’s global alliance partner now owns 25% of AvtoVAZ, a Russian car maker which makes and sells the Lada brand of cars in Russia. AvtoVAZ is Russia’s largest car maker, known for its Lada range of cars and SUVs. While the Lada based Datsuns will share the platform and parts with Lada car models, the cars will look very different from the outside. The exterior styling of the Datsun cars will be a major differentiating factor. The Datsun cars’ interiors too will be quite different from those featured on the Ladas. Datsun is Japanese car maker Nissan’s low cost car brand.
This announcement assumes much significance as it highlights Nissan’s strategy for the Datsun brand. Datsun cars sold in different parts of the world are expected to be based on retired Nissan/Lada models rather than cars that will be developed from scratch. This strategy will allow Datsun to come up with low cost cars as the development costs for these cars will be quite minimal. Along with the Lada Kalina platform, Datsun is also expected to use the previous generation Nissan Micra platform for at least one of its low cost hatchbacks.
Datsun cars will be sold in emerging car markets across the world. India, Indonesia and Russia will be the main countries in which Datsun cars will be produced with a high level of localization to boot. The first of the Datsun cars will be unveiled by the end of 2013. The launch though, will happen only in 2014. In India, Datsun will launch two hatchbacks in 2014. One hatchback will be priced in the INR 3-4 lakh segment, sitting under the Nissan Micra. The other hatchback will take on the likes of the Maruti Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon. The price is expected to be under INR 3 lakhs.
Both these cars will be manufactured at Renault-Nissan’s joint manufacturing facility situated at Oragadam, off Chennai. Both these cars are expected to be showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. The B+ segment Datsun hatchback will be launched first, followed by the cheaper of the two models. In the coming years, the Datsun brand is also expected to play host to a low cost compact MPV.