Nissan plans to launch the mass volume cars under the Datsun brand in India by 2014. The company will use the 2014 Auto Expo as a platform to first show the cars to the customers and in the later half will officially launch them.
Datsun, will launch a low-cost hatchback in India just over Rs 2 lakh and will take on models like Maruti Suzuki’s Alto and Hyundai’s Eon. The company will introduce cars in the range of Rs. 2-4 lakhs.
Nissan will use the Oragadam facility to initially make cars and may even consider an all new manufacturing facility in the future.
Official word from the company
Takayuki Ishida, the new MD and CEO of Nissan’s Indian operations, said the company wants to produce “mass volume” vehicles under the Datsun stable which is a brand aimed at emerging economies. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had announced the revival of the Datsun brand last month and said it will be launched in markets like India , Russia and Indonesia. The Datsun nameplate was discontinued by the Japanese maker in 1981, and is now being revived for rapidly-growing economies.
“The Datsun cars will be launched around the second half of 2014, and we are targeting to showcase them at the Delhi Auto Expo at the beginning of the year. The pricing will be between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 4 lakh. This is the only way we can ensure that the cars are produced at a competitive price,” Ishida said. He said in line with the trend in the Indian market, the company is also looking at developing a small diesel engine to be fitted on its hatchback. “While the development is being done by Nissan, we are seeking a lot of support from companies outside our fold for access to technology and keeping costs low.”
“R&D in India is very competitive and the development of the vehicles will be done in Chennai, apart from Japan. While the platform development work will not happen at Chennai, some parts of the interiors and the exteriors will be done in India.”
Ishida said the investment for the Datsun brand will be “significant” , though refused to give specific numbers. Nissan has so far invested Rs 3,000 crore in India. Nissan has plans to launch a series of cars under the Datsun brand. “Once it’s launched, we want that half our volumes should come from Datsun and the other half from Nissan.”