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Ready, set: The Datsun Go was styled in Japan but R&D and engineering took place in India, where Nissan will take on established budget cars such as the Tata Nano.

Nissan reveals sub-$7500 Datsun Go budget hatch in India ahead of early 2014 launch


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16 Jul 2013

NISSAN has unveiled its highly anticipated modern-era budget car for emerging markets that heralds the return of its famous Datsun brand – the Go five-door hatchback.

To be built at a Renault-Nissan Alliance factory near Chennai, India, the Go will be priced “well below” 400,000 rupees ($A7334) when it goes on sale in India early in 2014, competing against the likes of the Tata Nano, Maruti Suzuki Alto and Hyundai i10.

Nissan says the five-door Go will be the first of “several” Datsun models to be launched later next year in a variety of markets including Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, but the company has confirmed there are no plans for Datsun to return to Australia, despite the brand’s resonance with customers here.

Drawing its name from the original 1914 Japanese-built Datsun, the Dat-Go, the new Go hatch was unveiled in New Delhi this week by Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn, who said it was 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 realising the dream of purchasing a car,” Mr Ghosn said.

Nissan says the front-wheel-drive Go was designed in Japan but that R&D and engineering for the project was undertaken in India “to ensure the product would suit local market conditions, preferences, tastes and needs, and would be accessible in terms of price and supply”.

It will be fitted standard with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and five-speed manual gearbox, while a mobile docking station enabling smartphone connectivity will also be available.

There is no word yet on safety features or other equipment in the vehicle, although cabin photographs show the absence ‘SRS’ branding on the steering wheel and other trim areas, indicating there are no airbags onboard.

An open shelf is also provided in lieu of a glovebox.

The Go has compact dimensions, measuring 3785mm in overall length, 1635mm in width and 1485mm in height – making it a fraction smaller than the Micra sold here – although Nissan claims the car is “spacious inside” due to its “wide stance and large wheelbase”, the latter 15mm longer than Micra’s at 2450mm.

The company also says the hatchback offers “ample headroom” and an “expanded front seating configuration”.

Few other details were released at this week’s launch, with Nissan instead promising that the Go “will be a reliable partner for families, providing comfort to five occupants and agility in congested traffic” and that it will “combine space for five with impressive fuel-efficiency and acceleration”.

Other models will be individually developed for different markets, but the Japanese auto giant says each Datsun car “will follow a common inspiration” and that the basic offer will include “a worry-free ownership experience, competitive total cost, accessible services, with transparent pricing and dealership proximity”.

As well as a nod to history, the Go nameplate is said to reflect the aspirations of customers in emerging markets who are “optimistic” and “seek better value propositions”.

“These are people who want transportation that supports their everyday needs, but that also fulfils their dreams and ambitions for a better tomorrow,” Nissan says.

“They are literally ‘on the move’ – they want to ‘Go’ further – so the name of the car reflects this aspiration.” Head of Datsun Vincent Cobee said the brand stands for ‘Dream, Access and Trust’ (DAT).

“When a customer buys his first new car in countries like India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, first he dreams about it,” he said.

“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.” The assembly plant at Oragadam, near Chennai, was opened in 2010 and has an annual production capacity of 400,000 vehicles.

Nissan is only a recent entry to the Indian market, and last year sold around 37,000 vehicles, up 11 per cent on the previous year. It is targeting triple-digit growth in the current financial year (ending March 2014), and plans to launch 10 new models in India by 2016 under both the Nissan and Datsun brands.

Over the same period, the company plans to expand its dealer network to more than 300 outlets.

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