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Datsun revival is a Go! for SA

2013-07-15 14:12

A TRIBUTE TO THE FIRST DATSUN: The new Datsun Go will arrive in SA later in 2014 with a pricetag below R100 000. Image: Nissan

NEW DELHI, India –  Wheels24 reported Earlier in 2013 that Datsun would make a comeback in South Africa with a model due in 2014. Now the automaker has revealed the car  at a presentation here. Meet the Datsun Go.

The five-door, front-wheel drive hatchback will be powered by a 1.2 petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual. The hatchback 1.6m wide, 1.4m tall and 3.7m long with a long wheelbase of 2.4m.

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Datsun said: "The drive train is designed specifically to suit the Indian environment, eliminating any stress or complexity for the risers (see below) to go forth."

HEADED FOR SA

Nissan SA said: “We are still planning to bring the vehicle to market below R100 000 and to launch in the third quarter of 2014.”

The company hopes that reviving the brand will fuel growth in emerging markets with a new generation of car buyers.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn, said: “This is 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 realizing the dream of buying a car.”

The name of the new car is derived from the first Datsun, the DAT-GO, launched almost a century earlier in Japan.

‘BADGE OF THE RISERS’

The Go will go on sale in India in 2014 for the equivalent of R66 210. It will also be sold in Indonesia and Russia, with the company saying its offerings will be tailored to each market in terms of price and size. According to Datsun, the new model is the "badge of the risers", an appeal to first-time buyers. The Go has a mobile docking station for drivers to connect their smart phones.

Nissan is hoping the comeback of one of its defining brands will herald the same rapid expansion that the Datsun provided when it hit American showrooms more than 50 years ago.

DATSUN REVIVAL

The Datsun brand was discontinued globally, starting in 1981, to unify the model line-up under the Nissan brand. Nissan also makes Infiniti luxury models.

Faced with stagnating sales in established markets such as Japan and Europe, most global automakers have their eyes on fast-growing developing countries that also include China, Mexico and Brazil. India's population of 1.2-billion is a lure for automakers hoping to ring up big sales numbers, albeit with cheaper prices and lower profits.

The Go enters the Indian vehicle market at a tough stage. Car sales fell by 10% in the April-June quarter from the previous year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Indian consumer spending has been hit by an economic slowdown and high interest rates that make car loans less affordable.

A Volvo inspired grille, Nissan Micra body and Toyota Etios at the rear? What do YOU think the Datsun Go looks like? Email us your thoughts.
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