Snapshot: Japanese automaker Nissan’s low cost car brand Datsun has released a sketch of the i2 hatchback concept. The i2 hatchback will be shown at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo in concept form and will hit the production line at Oragadam in 2015. The car will be positioned below the Datsun Go hatchback at a starting price of under 3 lakh rupees. The Maruti Alto 800 and the Hyundai Eon will be the prime rivals of the Datsun i2.
From the released sketch, it appears that the Datsun i2 hatchback will feature a tall boy design, one that is quite different from the design of the Alto 800 and the Eon. The tall boy design is likely to make the Datsun i2 similar to the Tata Nano when it comes to the ease of ingress and egress. The Datsun i2 is being designed by Nissan and will be produced alongside the Go hatchback at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam, off Chennai.
Notably, the Renault-Nissan Technical Center at Chennai is developing an 800 cc, triple cylinder petrol engine that will be used in both the Datsun i2 and the upcoming Renault A-Entry hatchbacks. The Renault A-Entry hatchback, which will be the French automaker’s least priced car in India, will share its platform and many design inputs with the Datsun i2. The car is being readied up for a 2015 debut.
Both the Datsun i2 and the Renault A-Entry small cars will be based on Renault-Nissan’s CMF-A architecture, a global platform that will underpin a whole range of cars built by the Franco-Japanese alliance. CMF-A is an acronym for common module family and A represents entry level cars such as the Datsun i2 and the Renault A-Entry.
The A-Entry will also be produced at Oragadam, and Renault might explore the option of exporting this small car to emerging markets across the globe. Though it will share its platform with the Datsun i2, the Renault A-Entry will be positioned at a premium in line with the French brand’s higher positioning. However, the Renault A-Entry will sit under the Pulse in terms of pricing, which is likely to begin from under the 4 lakh rupee mark.