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India/World: Nissan unveils Datsun Go in New Delhi

Datsun Go 15 July 2013Carlos Ghosn unveils the Datsun Go in New Delhi

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A few minutes ago in New Delhi, India, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the first model of the relaunched brand Datsun: the Datsun Go. He emphasised Datsun’s role to ‘open the door to new car ownership’ in the country and the world. After phasing out the Datsun brand in 1986, in March 2012 Nissan announced it would revive it as its low-cost offer and relaunch it in India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa at first. Datsun is one of a few ‘new’ low-cost brands to pop up internationally following the tremendous success of Dacia. Fiat is thinking of resuscitating Autobianchi as a low-cost brand and Volkswagen has said they will definitely launch a low-cost brand worldwide in the next 5 years. You can see more details about the low-cost trend in my article World: Datsun, now Autobianchi to be revived as low-cost brands.

Datsun Go 15 July 2013bCarlos Ghosn unveils the Datsun Go in New Dehli

Today the first model in the new Datsun low-cost lineup was unveiled: it is called Go. The presentation, streamed live online, started with a somewhat cheesy song and dance introduction (where have all the Bollywood lavish dances and costumes gone?) to the words of “India’s youth is rising to the sun.” Rather tongue-in-cheek, one singer exclaimed “A silly traffic jam cannot stop me from getting to my dream. Not when I have my Datsun!” Mmm ok.

Datsun Go 15 July 2013cDatsun Go

Loosely themed around the call-to-arms “Rise up”, this re-introduction of the Datsun brand to the world is targeting younger, first car buyers – at least in India. This is interesting (confusing?) as they are probably way more brand-conscious than the rest of the population, and would not know the brand Datsun existed before. When Ghosn says Datsun will once again ‘open the gate to new car ownership’, as it has done so in the 60s and 70s, the “new” in the sentence is important as the Go will also compete with second-hand cars of potentially dubious origins.

High growth vs. Mature marketsIn 2016, 60% of global car sales will come from high growth markets.

This brings two interesting elements to light: first, the words ‘low-cost’ were never mentioned in the entire presentation, and the brand Datsun was never positioned as such. Second, while Carlos Ghosn spoke briefly of the heritage of the brand, this was more of a ‘clean slate’ launch. Understandable as this happened in India where Datsun will compete with Maruti and Hyundai which are not considered low-cost by local standards. Also remember that the Tata Nano was positioned as a low-cost model when it launched in India as fell way short of its sales targets, so a wise move from Nissan.

Datsun Bluebird 1963Datsun entered the US market in 1958 with the Bluebird. A comeback there is not planned for now.

Now onto some interesting points Carlos Ghosn made in his speech, and also: did you know why Datsun is called Datsun?… (Click on Read More below to read on)

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