Datsun a brand that was one prevalent in India in the imported car space in the 1970s is going to make a comeback this July. The Renault-Nissan alliance is planning to launch five cars under the Datsun brand in India.
The first car to come out of the Datsun stable is likely to be a small hatchback (codenamed the i2), which will be priced at under Rs. 4 lakh and compete with entry level hatchbacks. It will be positioned below the Nissan Micra. The India unveiling of this is expected mid-July according to reports. The car will not be launched this year though – the expected launch is in mid 2014. However, it will be showcased at the Auto Expo 2014 as well. Also read: Nissan to revive Datsun brand in India.
This will be followed by another Datsun small car launch next year (codenamed K2) which will be positioned slightly above the i2 model hatchback. And then by 2015, Datsun will roll out three more vehicles, one more hatchback, a compact sedan and a compact SUV. Also read: New car brands and what’s happening to them
The first small hatchback is likely to be based on the previous generation Nissan Micra platform, and is likely to share the Micra’s three-cylinder, 1.2 litre petrol engine. The car will be manufactured at Renault-Nissan’s plant in Chennai and will be exported to other markets such as South East Asia and South Africa – following a similar strategy that Nissan has been doing with the Nissan Micra. In the overall scheme of things, this will give the Renault-Nissan alliance a three-tier positioning strategy for their cars, much like the Volkswagen Group. Also read: Datsun to enter India with 5 cars
Renault cars will stay at the top of the pack in price positioning, commanding a small premium, with Nissan just below that and Datsun would be the absolute budget brand for the alliance. In Volkswagen too the hierarchy is Audi, followed Volkswagen and then Skoda, although in India, all three are seen as premium brands.