Dat's back, soon to go near you
By Ammar Alvi | Published: 21st July 2013 12:00 AM |
Carlos Ghosn, the able head of Nissan Motors, unveiled its latest offering in India, the all-new Datsun Go. The brand which has been absent in India for the last 32 years since the last Datsun rolled its wheels has decided to make a comeback and hopes to set the Indian road on fire. Ammar Alvi has more.
Japanese auto major Nissan knows the road in India well now; the company has decided that its new offering Datsun Go will have a long journey. And we think the same as there are many reasons why people may pick it up as their daily mode of family transport. With a hexagonal grille and big chunky headlights, it has an impressive stance and attacks straight the Maruti Suzuki A-Star and the Hyundai i10. Besides, you will find sculpted lines, muscular character and a long wheelbase, thanks to the short front and the rear overhangs. Another great feature that you will find in Go is spacing; it will be able to seat not five, but six passengers quite comfortably thanks to the front bench seat which is split down the middle giving option of not two but three seating capacity.
Much of the credit should go to the Nissan Motor’s global design centre in Japan which was responsible for the Datsun Go’s styling; the R&D and engineering were handled by local engineering resources and suppliers to ensure the product suits local conditions, preferences, tastes and needs and price points.
Against an under 2 per cent share of Indian car market now, Nissan is hoping to corner a 10 per cent of overall industry volumes by 2016, half through the Datsun brand. Datsun plans three new cars by 2016, and will be initially manufacturing them at Nissan/Renault’s joint production facility at Oragadam, near Chennai.
Says Vincent Cobee, Corporate Vice-President of Nissan Motor’s Datsun business unit: “Go is made in India for India and we have similar ambitions for Indonesia. The climate and some of the market characteristics between India and Indonesia are similar, though there are differences of usage, speed and family size between the two markets. So, we will go in for a pooling of a number of assets in terms of components even if the models are locally built. In terms of Africa, there is already some degree of commonality with India and currently India-made cars cater to a substantial part of the African market. So yes, there is an opportunity to use India for assets like components.” As for fully-built car exports, “if there is an opportunity, we will look into it,” he added.
It will be a tough challenge for Go as it will take on the likes of i10 and A-Star which have been successful models in its own league.
On the engine front, the Go will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine with a 5-speed manual gearbox which is also shared by the Nissan Micra. Go is expected to go on sale from mid-2014 with the price expected to be under `4 lakh. We expect Go will wake up all the compact car competitors in its segment and give a good wake-up call!
where do the competitors stand?
Engine: HR12DE (XH5) three-cylinder 1.2 litre petrol engine; 75PS of max power.
Mileage: Approx. 18-24 kmpl
Expected Price: Under `4 lakh
On Sale: From mid-2014
Maruti Suzuki A-Star
Engine: K10B 998 cc; 67 bhp
Mileage: 19 kmpl
Price: `3.95 lakh onwards
Engine: 1086 cc, 4 cylinder ; 68 bhp
Mileage: 19 kmpl
Price: `3.81 lakh onwards