Nissan has re-launched the Datsun brand after 32 years. The Japanese company has made the global brand re-launch in Gurgaon. Datsun will launch its first car early next year called the Datsun GO (codenamed K2). The Datsun GO will be priced under Rs. 4 lakhs in India and will be powered by a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine, paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The same engine does duty on the Nissan Micra Active, producing 68 PS and 104 Nm. However in the Datsun GO, the company might detune the engine in the interest of boosting fuel economy. The Datsun GO takes its name from the first Datsun (Dat GO) which was launched in 1914 in Japan.
The Datsun brand has been launched for emerging markets like India, South Africa, Indonesia and Russia. The company claims the Datsun GO will offer best in class interior room. The Datsun GO will compete with the Maruti Suzuki WagonR and Hyundai i10. The vehicle will be manufactured at Renault-Nissan’s Chennai production facility and will feature Mobile Docking System to connect smart phones. Renault’s upcoming A-Entry small car might share parts with the Datsun GO, which will be exported to other markets from India. Nissan is likely to discontinue the Micra Active post the launch of the Datsun GO.
Nissan has refrained from using their own name on cheap cars as they risk ruining their brand image. The said cheap cars are the ones which they plan to launch under the Datsun name. The Datsun GO is the first car which will go on sale and plans of an even cheaper model (priced around Rs. 2.5 lakhs) is on the cards for a 2016 launch. A cheap entry-level hatchback is also being developed for launch by 2015. Thus the Datsun brand has been resurrected although Datsun cars will be sold through existing Nissan dealerships across India.
Datsun started life in 1911 as Kaishinsha Motor Car Works and was renamed to DAT Motor Co. in 1925. DAT was the name of the three financial backers of the company. DAT now stands for Dream Access Trust. Dat Motor Co. was taken over by Nissan in 1933 and was earlier called Datson. However Nissan changed Datson to Datsun as son means loss in Japanese while sun was more favourable as it features in the Japanese flag. Datsun branding was used by Nissan for all its lower spec cars in overseas markets (mostly out of Japan). In March 1986, the brand was discontinued completely.
Carlos Ghosn (Chairman and CEO) of Nissan Motor Company unveiled the Datsun GO to global media at Kingdom of Dreams (Gurgaon). Nissan is targeting a 10% market share in India by 2016. The company currently has only 1.2% market share and will launch 10 new products by 2016. The Japanese automaker is betting big on Datsun products to boost volumes and believes these low cost cars will offer affordability and quality to customers.
The Datsun GO is 3785 mm long, 1635 mm wide and 1485 mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2450 mm. The interiors of the Datsun GO are not final as the model is in pre-production stage. The dashboard does take a few parts from the Micra and there are plenty of storage spaces. The dashboard mounted gear lever gives space for keeping stuff on the bench type front seat. Features will be limited and there will be no rear power window or tachometer.