Datsun Returns

The newly reformed Datsun is barely back in business and it is already getting bigger. Well, maybe just a little bit. A little over 2 months ago, Datsun announced the USD7000 Go Hatchback and now the recently resurrected manufacturer has added the 7-seater Go+. Well, 5+2 really, as 2 of the seats are jump seats in the stretched boot area. The price tag is thought to be about USD9000 for the base model.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, the parent company of Datsun, unveiled the two models at a shopping mall in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. “Today we are breathing new life into this historic brand,” he said. The vehicle will be powered by a slightly wheezy 1.2 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine mated to a 5-speed manual gear box. The Go+ is underpinned by the Nissan Micra platform, also known as the Nissan Type-V platform. Just about everything is optional including the radio, but there is a clever little dock for a smartphone that hooks into the speaker system.

Indonesia will soon rival Thailand as the largest car market in the ASEAN block and it is Nissan’s hope that the Go+ will help to capture 15% of the Indonesian market share by 2017, according to Vincent Cobee, the Global Head of Datsun. This would represent sales of over 200 000 cars; a tall order perhaps, but on the gridlocked Indonesian roads, Toyota has ruled supreme with their Kijang, a low cost 7-seat people mover. So, it seems to compete, you must emulate.

Currently Datsun has announced plans to sell cars in Russia, South Africa and India where it is thought that a budget brand is required. But strangely not in Brazil, which is the home of the budget car brand and, incidentally, also of Carlos Ghosn. Some would argue that Nissan themself is not exactly an upmarket brand and already has the mildly successful Dacia Budget brand. It is thought that the Datsun brand will not be available in Western Europe or the USA any time soon. So, if you really cannot live without a Datsun in your life, then you had better move.
For more on the history of Datsun, click here.
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