Hatchback 'Datsun GO' to be priced under Rs 4 lakh

Japanese car maker Nissan Motor Co, on Monday, announced the global re-launch of ‘Datsun’ brand with the unveiling of its hatchback ‘Datsun GO’ that will be priced below Rs.4 lakh in India.

The company, which stopped selling the brand nearly 30 years ago, said the car would be available in the Indian market from early next year. It would be targeted at “emerging middle-class”, the company added.

“Today we begin a new chapter in Nissan’s history. Datsun is back...The car will go on sales early next year in India, followed by Indonesia, Russia and South Africa,” Nissan Motor Co President and CEO Carlos Ghosn said.

Market share

Stating that the company (Nissan) was targeting to up market share to 10 per cent by 2016 from about 1.2 per cent in India, Mr. Ghosn said, “We expect Datsun to contribute significantly to this growth.” The car-maker expects 50 per cent of its sales in India to come from the Datsun brand.

The launch comes at a time when the Indian automobile industry is going through a slowdown with domestic sales declining for eight months in a row .

Commenting on the market for small cars, Nissan Motor Co Corporate Vice-President, Datsun Business Unit, Vincent Cobee, said, “To my knowledge, the segments that have grown in India in the last six months are the segments that [have] seen product innovation. It is not so much the question of price; it’s a question about product attractiveness…A good product defines its own demand.”

In the segment, the Datsun GO will compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Alto, Hyundai’s Eon and General Motors’ Chevrolet Spark. Maruti and Hyundai together dominate the segment in India.

Datsun GO will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, and has been “fully engineered in India”. It will be manufactured at the Renault Nissan plant in Chennai.

“Bringing a car to any market that has been designed for somewhere else can be a bit of a dicey value proposition… Datsun GO has been made for India, in India for the emerging middle-class,” Mr. Cobee said, adding that it would be the first of several models that would be launched later in 2014 in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

When asked if Datsun would also be exported from India, he said some quantity could be exported to South Africa while “there will be pooling of assets” in Indonesia as the market was somewhat similar to India but not to Russia.

Nissan plans to introduce 10 models in India by 2016. The Japanese car-maker had announced plans to launch two products from the Datsun brand in India by FY14.

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