In March 2015, Nissan dispatched 2,840 cars to dealership stockyards across the country. Datsun, a budget brand owned by Nissan and whose cars are developed and manufactured by the Japanese automaker at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam, did 1,875 units last month. For a brand that’s just a year old in India, Datsun’s sales numbers seem decent, especially considering that its mother brand Nissan has been in the country for nearly a decade now. Sniffing opportunity, Nissan plans to give the Datsun brand a shot in the arm with a multiple pronged strategy.
Sales and service outlets will be added in the months to come. Apart from using Nissan’s dealerships for pushing Datsun car sales, the automaker also plans to establish small, standalone dealerships for Datsun. These smaller dealerships will take the Datsun brand to the smaller cities and towns of India, where these cars’ value proposition can be milked to the maximum. These dealerships will sell two cars for now, the Go hatchback and the Go+ MPV. Eventually, a brand new budget car will join this duo. 60 standalone Datsun dealerships by 2016 is the immediate target, up from the current 21.
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The second prong of Datsun’s strategy will unravel in 2016, when the automaker will bring in the RediGo/i2 code-named budget hatchback. The RediGo, which was first showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo in concept form, is expected to be showcased in production trim at next year’s Auto Expo. The car will be based on the CMF-A platform, which it will share with the Renault A-Entry/XBA, another budget hatchback. The Datsun RediGo/i2 will use a tall-boy design, becoming Nissan’s first car to do so in India. An 800cc, triple cylinder petrol engine developed by the Renault-Nissan technical center at Chennai, will power this car.
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The RediGo will be built at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam. Considering that both the Go and Go+ have faced much flak for their poor safety specifications, the RediGo is expected to feature adequate reinforcements on this crucial parameter, especially given that Airbags, ABS+EBD and crash test ratings will soon become mandatory in India. In terms of pricing, the RediGo will sit below the Go hatchback. Expect a starting price close to the 2.5 lakh rupee mark, which will give this car enough ammunition to take on the likes of the Tata Nano and the Maruti Suzuki Alto.