Monday, 15 July 2013


Nissan in India has unveiled the very first 21st Century Datsun car, something called the GO. This follows the announcement earlier this year that Datsun would soon return to Mzansi, and other markets. Well it has, at least in India. Other countries to follow are Indonesia, Russia and South Africa in 2014.

“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 realising the dream of purchasing a car,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor President and CEO, when unveiling the car.

It will be built at Nissan’s Chennai factory that it shares with partner Renault, and be exported to other markets. So far there is no word on assembling in Rosslyn. Guess that would depend on the local uptake. Power comes from the same 1.2-litre engine used by its current Micra sibling. In that application it produces 56kW and 104Nm of torque, driven through the front wheels by a 5-speed manual gearbox.

If you thought the GO looks like the Micra then you wouldn’t be exaggerating. It does. Similarities don’t end in looks alone, they also extend to dimensions. The GO is 3.785 metres long, 1.6m wide, 1.485m high and has a wheelbase of 2.45m. Micra on the other hand, measures 3.78m long, 1.65m wide, 1.515m high and has a wheelbase of 2.45 metres. For all intents and purposes then, this is a Nissan Micra, dressed down as a Datsun GO.

But then one could say the same about VW Group products that are based on the exact same platform but just differ in exterior design, specs and price. So it seems Datsun will be the entry-level brand for Nissan. And if that is the case, where will that place Nissan itself, will it go more premium?

In India the GO is priced from just below below INR 400 000 (around R66 000 today). But if you think Nissan SA will also follow suit when launching the GO, perhaps you should think again, because in India an entry-level Micra 1.2 costs about R79 000. In Mzansi the same car will set you back R134 300. However, we do expect it to be cost in the same region as the likes of Toyota Etios and VW Polo Vivo.

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