With Datsun, Nissan on the Go; third model early next year

K Giriprakash Bangalore | Updated on March 12, 2018

Plans capacity expansion

Capitalising on the success of the small-car Datsun Go, Nissan India plans to fast-forward its expansion through brand extensions, model revamps and increase in manufacturing capacity.

It will launch early next year a third model of the Datsun Go, which could either be a sports utility vehicle or a sedan. As already reported, the company is all set to unveil Datsun Go+, a six-seater multi-utility vehicle.

An upbeat Kenichiro Yomura, CEO and managing director of Nissan Motor India, told Business Line that “the turnaround of the company’s operations in India has already started.” Datsun Go, a made-for-India car launched in March, has already sold about 5,000 units.

Datsun Go will soon have separate distributors as the Japanese carmaker believes that its positioning is quite different from the other models available in India. The number of dealerships will also be more than doubled to around 300 in a couple of years.

The multi-utility vehicle Datsun Go+ will have three rows of seats, but will be more compact than competing models, Yomura said. The 1.2-litre vehicle is expected to be priced between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh.

Though Yomura did not say if the third model will be a sedan or an SUV, he did point out that compact SUVs are becoming popular in India. The Datsun model, recently launched in Russia, is a sedan variant.

With more models being launched, Yomura said the company may look at expanding its capacity.

The carmaker, along with Renault, has built a manufacturing plant near Chennai, with a capacity of 4.8 lakh units a year; the plant has already reached 4 lakh unit level. “We expect that the entire capacity will be utilised soon and hence may have to add capacity as well as workers,” the Nissan India chief said.

At present, there are about 8,000 workers who work on two shifts at the plant. The total investment so far is around Rs 4,500 crore, which is expected to go up further.

The carmaker has now replaced Maruti Suzuki as the second largest exporter from India. Last fiscal, it exported 1.2 lakh cars. Yomura said there are no plans yet to export Datsun Go cars as it was a product made for India. Currently, the localisation level of all cars made in India is about 80 per cent, while the engine parts are sourced from Japan.

Published on May 19, 2014

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