The all-new Datsun GO, a stylish five-door hatchback, marks the return of the Datsun brand after 32 years.
Datsun is the third brand for the Nissan Motor Company along with the company’s Nissan and Infiniti brands. Datsun is expected to play an important role in the Nissan Power 88 mid-term business plan. The GO will also lead Nissan’s big ambitions to get 10 percent of the Indian passenger market by 2016-17.
“This is a 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 realising the dream of purchasing a car,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor president and CEO, when unveiling the car. The GO will go on sale in early 2014 and the company says it will be priced below Rs 4 lakh. However, according to company sources, the GO could even be priced more aggressively to retail for under Rs 3.5 lakh.
While the car’s sticker price maybe small, the GO’s dimensions are more akin to a large, premium hatchback. In fact, the GO, which shares the same 2450mm wheelbase with the Micra, is marginally longer which points to a generous interior space.
The GO sets out to make a style statement at the budget end of the car market with its striking design that is clearly targeted at a younger audience. The aggressive design, which is full of cuts, slashes and interesting details, is not what you expect in an affordable car.
The talking point, however, is the interior, which has a good blend of clever design and practicality, and hasalso been customised to please Indian car buyers. For example, two tones of beige have been used, many of the buttons on the dash are silvered over, and Datsun has even provided a mobile docking station for smartphones. However, there’s no glovebox. What you get is a big parcel shelf under the dash and space for full-sized bottles in the doorpads. There are also some Nissan bits visible on the inside. The door handles are clearly from the Micra and so are the air-con vents.
Cabin space is expected to be one of the cornerstones of the GO with ample space for five large adults. The rear bench is quite wide and legroom too is as generous as in the Micra.
Powering the GO is the same 1.2-litre petrol motor that does duty in the Micra, albeit in a different state of tune, and it is mated to a five-speed transmission. Datsun has focused on driveability and low-end performance to make the GO easy to drive, especially in congested traffic.
Datsun is focusing on keeping the cost of ownership as low as possible with the GO, which is crucial to build trust with first-time car buyers.
“When a customer buys his first new car in countries like India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, first he dreams about it. To realise 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, and the GO is the first of several Datsun models that will be launched later in 2014 in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
HORMAZD SORABJEE, AUTOCAR INDIA
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