Latest Stories

Nissan resurrects Datsun to woo emerging market buyers

Indian artists pose with the newly launched Datsun Go car after their performance in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 15, 2013. Nissan has introduced the first new Datsun model in more than three decades in the Indian capital. The company hopes bringing back the brand that built its US business will fuel growth in emerging markets with a new generation of car buyers. The reimagined Datsun—a five-seat hatchback—will go on sale in India next year for under 400,000 rupees (about $6,670). AP PHOTO/MANISH SWARUP

NEW DELHI—Japanese carmaker Nissan resurrected its iconic budget Datsun marque on Monday to woo a new generation of cost-conscious buyers in emerging markets.

Nissan, which in 1981 killed off the Datsun badge that was a favorite of legions of Western drivers, has launched a “next-generation” of the car to penetrate high-growth developing economies.

Nissan Motor Co chief executive Carlos Ghosn unveiled the first new Datsun model in the New Delhi satellite city of Gurgaon.

The car is set to go on sale early next year in India, the world’s biggest small car market by volume.

“The Datsun is back!” Ghosn declared at the car’s world premiere as he showed off the five-door hatchback which features a front-wheel drive, swept-back headlights and a sporty grill.

The 1.2-litre engine car will also be rolled out in Russia, South Africa and Indonesia in the next couple of years.

There are no immediate plans to sell it in the United States or Europe.

Ghosn, who also heads French carmaker Renault as part of a partnership, said Nissan has retained the Datsun brand concept of “reliability and fuel-efficiency” but “completely updated the product.”

He gave no sticker price for the car, to be known as the Datsun GO, but said it would be less than 400,000 rupees ($6,678).

With the relaunched Datsun, which will be locally assembled, Nissan aims to fill a low-cost niche from which it has been absent, while keeping its main Nissan brand upmarket.

The Datsun, which first went on sale in 1931 and was known as one of the auto industry’s iconic brands, was sold in 190 countries.

But Nissan scrapped the well-known name almost three decades ago, opting to use its own badge for the cars in what was a shock brand change for many loyal owners.

Ghosn said the new Datsun would give Nissan a “meaningful presence in high-growth markets.”

Nissan aims to have a 10 percent market share in India by 2016, up from less than two percent last year.

In a couple of years, Nissan expects 60 percent of all auto sales globally to take place in high-growth markets such as India, Indonesia and Russia, Ghosn said.

In the United States, 500 out of every 1,000 people have cars, while in Russia the figure drops to 280. In South Africa, the number falls to 160 and it is 70 in Indonesia, he noted.

In India, which has a population of 1.2 billion and where global automakers see the greatest ultimate potential, car owners represent just 15 out of 1,000 people.

“There is a signficant transition (in buying patterns) in global markets,” Ghosn said.

But Datsun will not face an easy ride in India’s fiercely competitive auto segment, where market leader Maruti Suzuki, controlled by Japan’s Suzuki Motor, sells its low-cost Alto hatchback for less than $5,000.

India’s no-frills cheapest car, the Tata Nano, sells for a minimum 150,000 rupees or just under $3,000 but has not fared well amid product image problems.

The Datsun rebirth also comes as the Indian market is going through a tough period, with sales shrinking last year for the first time in a decade against the backdrop of a sharply slowing economy.

“It looks like a good product but it will be tough going—they’re starting essentially from zero in this segment,” auto analyst Deepesh Rathore told AFP.

Datsun’s revival follow Ghosn’s success in pushing Renault’s low-cost Dacia marque which has been overtaking rivals in Europe’s contracting car market.—Penelope Macrae

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: auto , Datsun , India , Japan , launch , Road Transport

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen
  • Lacson rejects calls to name ‘pork’ execs
  • Obama due in Seoul as North Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Hold departure order out vs Corona, Singson
  • Malaysia to release MH370 report–PM
  • Sports

  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • Marketplace