Monthly Archives: July 2013

Datsun to bank on Nissan’s dealer network in India

Datsun is looking to capitalise on Nissan’s dealer network when it begins rolling out cars from 2014 — a move analysts feel may not work in the newly revived brand’s favour


Datsun Go hatchback


Datsun will not set up an independent retail network when it starts selling in India next year but will rather piggyback on parent Nissan’s infrastructure to sell and service cars. The move, however, is not being seen as a positive by industry analysts, who feel that an elaborate and self-run retail network is a requisite for a company that plans to take on industry heavyweights like Maruti and Hyundai.

Vincent Cobee, global head of Datsun, said the company will bank on the network of Nissan when it starts rolling out cars from 2014. However, it will not be a product placement within the Nissan network, but rather Datsun will have a separate and distinct branding bay within the retail set-up.

“Datsun will be sold in a fully-branded environment. In other words, the branding around the car, the sales person, the process and services will be Datsun specific and Datsun-branded,” Cobee told TOI, while elaborating on the distinct identity of the brand that Nissan is reviving after over 30 years to tap buyers in emerging markets like India, Russia and Indonesia. He said existing dealers of Nissan will have the right of first refusal when Datsun spreads its wings in the country.


Tata Fiat tie up


However, analysts doubted the company’s strategy in view of the strength of Datsun’s rivals and also due to the bad response to a similar initiative undertaken by Fiat and Tata Motors, which finally had to be dismantled as the Italian company’s sales had crashed massively.

“Nissan currently has a very limited presence in India and the strategy is not really very convincing. I am just a little worried,” said Deepesh Rathore, an independent auto analyst. “If you are in a market for a long run, the right solution is to have a network of your own which has to be big.”


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Nissan’s upcoming 10 car line-up for India


It’s well-known that Nissan plans to introduce 10 new products in the Indian market by March 2017, and with it, garner a 10 per cent marketshare. But what about these offerings – are these new nameplates, facelifts or generation upgrades? And, what role will Datsun play in all of this, if at all? We have all the answers.

Nissan Terrano sketch

Nissan Terrano sketch

The 10 per cent marketshare in sales volume will come 50 per cent from Datsun and 50 per cent from Nissan products. The Datsun line-up will only comprise three products while there will be seven new offerings from Nissan. And by new, we mean new nameplates and generation upgrades. Facelifts like those of the Evalia and the Sunny which are expected before the end of this year, will not count against this number. Neither will engine or gearbox changes on existing nameplates.

The first product from Datsun has already been unveiled. The Go is a Micra-sized hatchback with tremendous space on the inside. It will cost about Rs 3.6 lakh when it goes on sale early next year and will threaten the likes of the Hyundai i10. The next product from Datsun will be an MPV along similar lines as the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. It too, will be based on the same modified B-platform as the Go and will make its debut in Indonesia in the later part of 2014.

Carlos Ghosn with the new Datsun GO

Carlos Ghosn with the new Datsun GO

Expect seating for seven, and similar equipment and quality levels as the Go. It will be powered by the same 1.2-litre petrol engine as the Datsun hatch, and will additionally come with the 1.5-litre diesel currently found under the hood of the Micra. The Datsun MPV, we believe, will undercut the Ertiga and Enjoy pricing and should cost a little under Rs 5 lakh when it makes its Indian debut towards the end of next year. The final car from Datsun will be a sedan. Again, it will share its underpinnings with the Go and we don’t expect too many changes to the interior either.

As for Nissan-branded products, there will be two all-new nameplates. The first will be the Duster-based, five-seater SUV, the Terrano. It will come with two engine options — one petrol and one diesel — and the diesel will further come in two states of tune, similar to the Duster. There will also be an all wheel drive version of the Terrano.

Nissan will also debut its crossover the Qashqai sometime in 2014. But, it’s not the current model that will come to India but the next-generation version which will be built on Renault-Nissan’s new modular platform, the CMF. Nissan hasn’t yet confirmed whether the crossover will come in via the CBU route or will be assembled here, but it would make more sense to take the latter route. It will help keep the pricing reasonable and with it, attract higher number of buyers. The Qashqai in India will seat seven.

Other new models will include the next generation X-Trail, again based on the CMF platform as well as the all new 370Z sports car. We don’t expect either of these models to contribute handsomely towards Nissan’s 10 per cent marketshare, especially the 370Z which operates in a very small niche.

In 2015, Nissan will launch the all-new Micra. It will be based on the CMF-A modular platform. The CMF-A has been designed specifically for emerging markets and with India as its biggest production hub. The next-generation Sunny will also be based on this platform and will debut after the Micra.

The last product which hit showrooms in 2016-17 will be an MPV. It could replace the Evalia or could carry an all new nameplate. But, like the Micra and the Sunny, it too will be built on the CMF-A.

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Ashok Leyland unveils its Stile MPV

Developed by the Ashok Leyland – Nissan Motor Company Joint Venture, this multi-purpose vehicle is based on a new-generation LCV platform, and will follow the successful DOST as the second product offering from Ashok Leyland’s fast-growing Light Vehicle business

Ashok Leyland unveils its Stile MPV


“Our brand-new vehicle reflects our continued focus on offering Japanese Technology and Quality at Indian Cost,” were Dr. V Sumantran, Vice Chairman, Ashok Leyland and Chairman, Nissan Ashok Leyland Powertrain Ltd’s words, which quite aptly describes what this vehicle really stands for.

While its pricing as compared to the almost identical Nissan Evalia are yet to be officially announced, the Stile, one must admit is an indication of Ashok Leyland trying to step out of its more conventional CV expertise and offer its customers something that has wider appeal across the industry.

A product of the Ashok Leyland- Nissan Motor Company Joint Venture, the Stile is a multi-purpose vehicle based on a contemporary award-winning platform, and is the second product offering from Ashok Leyland after the DOST.

Taking full advantage of the Evalia’s monocoque body construction, advanced Common Rail diesel engine, the Stile has been further tuned for low NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) and should offer great efficiency like its Japanese counterpart. The interiors as expected are very spacious and offer good ergonomics. The low floor feature makes for easy entry and exit, while sliding doors on both sides allow for easy access in tight parking spaces.


Ashok Leyland unveils its Stile MPV


Taking all this into consideration, and the fact that this would priced lower than the Nissan model, the Stile would be ideal for various applications like seating 7-8 people, use in both urban and rural areas, be used as hotel shuttles, taxis, ambulances, panel vans, courier services, inter-city and intra-city travel and so on. 

Speaking at the unveil of the Ashok Leyland, Stile, G P Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group, said “Partnership for Growth is one of the five guiding principles of our Group. In this spirit, we are extremely happy with the way our association with Nissan has grown from strength to strength. Our shared vision and philosophies have found expression in both the products that we have engineered thus far – DOST and STILE. I wish both the Nissan and the Ashok Leyland teams the very best and I am certain that they have brought forth another winner.”

Commenting on Joint Venture, Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan-Renault Alliance, said “This collaboration has accelerated Ashok Leyland sales and increased Nissan’s economies of scale, while providing customers with unique products specifically tailored to Indian preferences. Our partnership with Ashok Leyland is an obvious ‘win-win-win’ for both companies and the consumer.”

Set to hit the roads before the festival season, the Ashok Leyland Stile will roll out from Nissan’s manufacturing plant at Oragadam, near Chennai. It will be available in both Diesel and CNG versions, with a wide choice of seating options of 2 and 3 rows. 

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Ashok Leyland Stile to be launched on July 16

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A year-and-a-half ago at the Auto Expo, Nissan had showcased the NV200 badged as Evalia for the Indian market. At the same expo, its Indian partner Ashok Leyland had on offer their version of the Evalia, the Stile. Now almost a year after Evalia’s launch, Ashok Leyland has announced that the Stile will be launched in Indian on July 16.

On the outside, the Stile looks the same as the Evalia barring subtle revisions to its fascia such as the logo on the bonnet rather than the grille and a slightly reworked bumper. At the rear, the only change is the logo.

Inside, it’s the same story. It’s Evalia with the Nissan badges replaced with Ashok Leyland ones. There are rumours that Ashok Leyland may provide captain seats for the middle row. Nissan is looking at updating the Evalia with the same seating arrangement. Seating space and luggage capacity will be similar to the Evalia as well. However, the CNG tank at the rear will eat into the luggage space.

At the launch Ashok Leyland will offer two engine options – diesel and petrol/CNG. The 85PS 1.5-litre k9k diesel engine is a proven warrior. The specifications of the CNG engine though are a mystery at the moment. There will be multiple application variants of the Stile on offer such as a hotel shuttle, ambulance, courier van and for large families. Expect the Stile to be priced lower by around Rs 50,000 than the Evalia. It will compete with the Tata Winger and to some extent the Tavera.

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  • Datsun is back; new Datsun GO unveiled in New Delhi, India.
  • Datsun GO is the first Datsun car for the 21st century.
  • Developed locally, Datsun GO will also be locally produced.
  • Datsun is the third Nissan Motor Company’s brand.
  • Datsun stands for Dream, Access and Trust (D.A.T.).

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Delhi, India (July 15, 2013) – Datsun today unveiled the first new Datsun car for the 21st century. The all-new Datsun GO will be on sale in India in early 2014.

The Datsun GO is the realization of the commitment made by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in March 2012 to return the Datsun brand to the marketplace. Datsun is the third brand for the Nissan Motor Company along with the company’s Nissan and Infiniti brands. Datsun will play an important role in the Nissan Power 88 mid-term business plan.

“This is an historic day for Nissan Motor Company and for our customers and partners in some of the world’s fastest-growing markets. It’s also an exciting moment for many women and men here in India who – today – come one step closer to realizing the dream of purchasing a car,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor President and CEO, when unveiling the car.

The five-door, front-wheel drive hatchback will come with a 1.2 liter engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission that offers optimal response time and agility in congested traffic.

With comparatively compact body dimensions (width – 1635mm; height – 1485mm; length– 3785mm), the car is spacious inside thanks to a wide stance and large wheelbase (2450mm), and offers ample headroom and an expanded front seating configuration. It will be a reliable partner for families, providing comfort to five occupants and agility in congested traffic.

For those customers never wanting to part with their favorite music and pictures, Datsun GO will offer a very practical solution – Mobile Docking Station to connect with their smartphones.

Datsun GO is expected to be “a category up” in its price range, attractively priced below INR 400,000.

This all-new car has been built to meet the needs of recent rising group of optimistic customers in high-growth markets who seek better value propositions. These are people who want transportation that supports their everyday needs, but that also fulfills their dreams and ambitions for a better tomorrow. They are literally “on the move.” They want to GO further, so the name of the car reflects this aspiration.

The name of the new car is inspired by the first Datsun, the DAT-GO, launched almost a century ago in Japan. Back then the cars brought mobility to people who had never dreamed of car ownership before. The reignited Datsun brand and the Datsun GO will bring a similar combination of aspiration and trustworthiness. Datsun GO is high-quality, stylish and modern, delivering an engaging driving experience. The overall Datsun customer offer will include a worry-free ownership experience, competitive total cost, accessible services, with transparent pricing, and dealership proximity.

“When a customer buys his first new car in countries like India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, first he dreams about it. To realize the dream, customers need to have access, feel a sense of belonging towards the Brand. Also, as this purchase will represent a significant part of their disposal income, it is important for them to have full trust in the brand and the product. So Dream, Access and Trust are key values for which the Datsun brand stands now,” said Vincent Cobee, who leads Datsun.

Datsun models will be individually developed for different markets, but the concept will follow a common inspiration. Datsun GO will be the first of several Datsun models that will be launched later in 2014 in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

While Nissan Motor’s Global design center in Japan was responsible for the Datsun GO styling, R&D and engineering development for the project were entrusted to local engineering resources and suppliers to ensure the product would suit local market conditions, preferences, tastes and needs, and would be accessible in terms of price and supply. The project development was of course backed by the full assurance of the global Japanese car manufacturer’s accumulated expertise and quality assurance.
Datsun GO will be produced at one of the newest Renault-Nissan Alliance factories at Oragadam, in Chennai.