Nissan finally pulled the plug off the Datsun brand in India – Datsun has also been discontinued from Russia and Indonesia
Datsun brand was revived by Nissan in 2013. Nissan had big plans with their budget brand. Nissan wanted to manufacture budget cars under the Datsun brand for emerging nations like India, Indonesia, Russia, African market, with bare minimal cars that were built to a cost. But as sales figures indicated, the brand never gained traction.
Even here in India, Datsun never appealed to the Indian audience. While some cars sell over 15,000 units a month in India, Datsun sold 4,296 cars in a year. With less than 0.1% of the market share, it was not feasible for Nissan to keep incurring losses. Nine years was all it took for Nissan to finally give up on the Datsun brand.
The company revealed in an official statement that, “As part of Nissan’s global transformation strategy, the company is focusing on core models and segments that bring the most benefit to customers, dealer partners and the business. Production of the RediGo has ceased at the Chennai plant.”
Datsun in Indian market
India was the first country where Datsun was brought back from the dead. Ironically, India is also the last country that kept Datsun’s heart pumping. Now that the brand is dead, let us take a glimpse of the short-run it enjoyed. In 2013, India witnessed the world premiere of the Go hatchback. Soon after its inception, it went on sale in 2014.
When launched, the Go hatchback had a lot going for it. It was the biggest car one could get for the price it commanded. Priced between Rs 3.12 lakh and Rs 3.69 lakh, it was aimed to take on the Maruti Alto – the best selling car of the segment. It offered more power, more space, more features – all at a price lower than rivals. But that did not help.
As the car was built to a cost, it was evident in the way it was built and in the way it felt to the end-user. The packaging of the car left a lot to be desired. After the Go hatchback, Datsun launched the Go+ MPV which was a good proposition. But just like the Go hatchback, this too was built in the exact same fashion. The third car in Datsun’s lineup for India is the RediGo, which did become their best seller – but sales were not enough.
The company tried to give more features on the Go and Go+ cars in the facelifted models in 2018. But that wasn’t well-received either. In 2020, Datsun updated all their vehicles to meet BS6 emission norms and the RediGo also received a facelift, an engine upgrade to the 1.0L petrol, and also an AMT gearbox.
Datsun – The Sad Demise
One of the main contributors to Datsun’s demise was safety. Or the lack thereof. When crash tested by Global NCAP, Datsun cars were absolute disasters. It’s not just the lack of safety though. Similarly priced Hyundai and Maruti cars sell like hot cakes even though they are just as disappointing in terms of safety as the Datsun cars. It was a combination of factors mentioned above.
There were a lot of rumours about the launch of the Go Cross in India. The Go Cross was a Go+ MPV with SUV-inspired looks and higher ground clearance. But that was given a miss. Then came the Magnite concept. Originally conceived as a Datsun sub 4-meter SUV, Nissan decided to launch Magnite under their own brand name, instead of Datsun.
What happens to Datsun Car Owners?
Nissan has assured support to existing Datsun owners in terms of service, parts and honour warranties. The existing Datsun owners can service their vehicles at their nearest Nissan service network.
Nissan said in an official statement, “We can assure all existing and future Datsun owners that customer satisfaction remains our priority, and we will continue to provide the highest levels of after sales service, parts availability and warranty support from our national dealership network.”