Home Interviews We want to position Datsun as a premium product in the mass market segment

We want to position Datsun as a premium product in the mass market segment

We want to position Datsun as a premium product in the mass market segment

As part of Nissan’s global strategy, ‘Power88’, the company has announced plans to revive the Datsun brand, which it had discontinued three decades ago. The Japanese carmaker is aiming a global market share of eight per cent and operational profits of eight per cent by 2016. Ashwani Gupta, Programme Director, Control Corporate Plan Group, Datsun Business Unit, Nissan Motor Company, says during a freewheeling interaction with Bhargav TS, he expects emerging markets to take a larger share of auto sales and hopes that Datsun will reap the most benefits from increased demand.


What made Nissan to revive the Datsun brand?

Under the Nissan ‘Power88’ project we are working on additional products to cater to high growth markets. The return of Datsun is in line with our mid-term plan of developing local products for the local buyers in local markets.

With the introduction of Datsun brand, to what extent will Nissan’s market share increase?

In 2014, we will be launching two products and another one after three years from the first one. We strongly believe that the Datsun brand of cars would give us 50 per cent of total sales in India under the Nissan Motor Company. Currently, Nissan has no products in around 40 to 50 per cent of TIV (total industry volume) in India. Therefore, the Datsun brand will give us economy of scale here and will be the game-changer.


There are many brands currently available in the sub-Rs 4 lakh segment. How are you going to differentiate your product and what would be Datsun’s USP?

Rather saying crowded, I would like to say it is an opportunity. First of all, Datsun is a brand belonging to the Nissan Motor Company. Since we are a global brand with a local product we will be delivering very competitive products, which would fulfil the aspirations of customers. We will be targeting high optimistic successful entrepreneur customers who should believe that this car is made for them. This is how we are planning to differentiate the Datsun brand.

How unique would Datsun be vis-?-vis fuel efficiency? Will it have a new engine or use one of Nissan’s existing engines?

When we talk about drivability, we talk about modality. We are talking about modern engineering and as a global OEM we have the latest technology to fulfil what the customer is looking for. Especially in Datsun, we are talking about a local product where we have the advantage to incorporate customer expectations right from the white board. This is what we are going to do with the help of modern engineering and incorporate customer requirements right into the product, manufacturing and sourcing.

Do you think the capacity at RNAIPL is adequate enough to accommodate manufacture of Datsun vehicles also?


The first two products of the Datsun brand will be manufactured at RNAIPL. Considering the market and capacities, we are also looking at building an additional manufacturing facility. We don’t want to be handicapped, so we work in hand in hand. The business strategy is accessibility, which is competitive and will derive our future manufacturing capacity allocation.

Since Datsun would be manufactured at RNAIPL, will you be sourcing components from existing suppliers or look for new suppliers?

When we talk about a product for India, it means the product is designed, engineered, and manufactured locally with components sourced here. So definitely we will utilise the maximum of our alliance services in Chennai. Deciding whether to go in for new suppliers would purely depend on the competitiveness. We believe we can source high-quality components from vendors in India with frugal engineering capabilities and confident that we can deliver the global brand at local product cost as we believe we can remove all non-value cost items.

Since the Datsun brand would be launched in India, Indonesia and Russia, will there be any synergies?

Yes, we may have some synergies across products but definitely these are local products designed for local markets. So as products we look for synergies because it is highly investment driven industry and within alliance we can achieve lot of synergies in terms of technology and platforms.

Will you be exporting Datsun cars from India?

Export is not our strategy and initially, we will look to cater to the domestic market. But if the other markets require, we will definitely look at exporting from Chennai.

Will there be a diesel version of Datsun?

We have options to produce both diesel and petrol versions. It is our fundamental belief that we need to offer and maintain Datsun cars with a price tag below Rs 4 lakh.

What would be the marketing strategy for Datsun?

We are working on the marketing plan and the key driver for it is accessibility, which is not only in terms of sales network. It also depends on service and other associate business schemes. Our objective is to create a strong brand image for Datsun in India and we will come out with strategy going forward.

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