Japanese low cost car brand Datsun will eventually make a foray into the compact SUV space, but the car maker’s entry will come after Nissan has broken ground with a new vehicle in this category for emerging markets of the world. India is a big part of the budget brand’s overall scheme of things, what with its Chief Mr. Vincent Cobee stating that he expects the lion’s share of the brand’s sales to come from the Indian market in the medium term. Therefore, a compact SUV is anything but a given as far is India is concerned. The matter of when, and not if, is what is left unconfirmed for now.
The word on the street is that a brand new compact SUV from Nissan, to be slotted below the Terrano, is in the works for India for a 2016 launch. Therefore, the Datsun SUV is expected to follow the sub-Terrano offering from Nissan, indicating a launch after 2016 for the low cost vehicle. With the Micro SUV segment set to take off in India, what with the Mahindra S101 lined up for 2015, and Maruti Suzuki also charting out a course in direction, a low cost vehicle from Datsun in this very segment could be the big push that this brand needs in a market such as India. The Go hatchback’s platform, itself a pared down iteration of Nissan’s V platform, is likely to underpin the new utility vehicle.
As a brand, Datsun is clear about keeping the identity and flavour of its vehicle independent of the ones branded as Nissans, even though the engineering inputs, parts and platforms may be borrowed from the latter. Applying this logic to the low cost utility vehicle that is being dreamed up by the brand, the vehicle promises to be quite distinct from the one built by Nissan. While diesel price deregulation has seen an uptick in petrol car demand in the budget segments, SUVs continue to be dominated by diesel power. The Datsun low cost SUV could even be the first product under the brand to feature a diesel engine.For the record, the brand has never played host to an SUV.
The Go hatchback has been a market dud, and must of Datsun’s hope for 2015 lies with the Go+ compact wagon, which has an unenviable task cut out for it, of that of making India accept station wagons. The next big volume offering from this brand will come later this year, in the form of the RediGo tall-boy hatchback that also promises to be the least priced Datsun in the world. The RediGo is deep in development at Renault-Nissan’s engineering center in Chennai, with extensive localization and a locally engineering 800cc-triple cylinder petrol engine in place. The car is expected to start at a price close to the 2.5 lakh rupee mark.