INR 1,736 Crores or 320 Million USD. That’s the amount of money Nissan India plans to invest in setting up a new factory for the manufacture of the Datsun range of low cost small cars. The new factory that Nissan will set up in India to build Datsun cars will come up beside the current Renault-Nissan factory at Oragadam, off Chennai. This big investment will result in creation of jobs while also being a major driver of economic growth in Chennai, a city that’s known at the Detroit of the East, considering the profusion of automobile factories in and around this South Indian city.
The Datsun factory will be capable of churning out no less than 200,000 cars each year by the end of 2014. This means a monthly production of 16,000 units for the Datsun range in India alone. Considering that Nissan is still a brand that has under 100 dealerships across India, a chunk of the Datsun production in the country could be earmarked for export markets in Asia and Africa. This is same approach that Nissan has been following with the made-in-India Micra hatchback, a car that whose export volumes have outpaced the domestic sales many times to one.
Also, the new Datsun factory in India is expected to be expandable for future production boosts to cater in view with the possibility of demand shooting up in the future. Heavy localization for competitive pricing will be a standard feature running across all Datsun cars sold in three major production hubs, India, Russia and Indonesia. The first Datsun small car, codenamed the K2, will be unveiled in the middle of this year. Based on the previous generation Micra, the Datsun K2 model will be priced between INR 3-4 lakhs, and is expected to be launched officially in 2014, at the Indian Auto Expo of that year.
The K2 will be the first Datsun car model to be sold in India and this car will sit under the Micra hatchback in terms of both price and positioning. Nissan will follow up the Datsun K2 with the i2 model, another small car designed and developed with India and other emerging car markets in mind. The i2 will be priced lower than the K2 although we’re yet to get wind of which older Nissan car the i2 will be based on. The i2’s price point is expected to fall between the INR 2-3 lakh mark. At these price points, the Datsun i2 small car will directly compete with India’s best selling car, the Maruti Alto 800.