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Nissan Motor hopes to clock 50 percent sales from Datsun

Tamil Nadu,Business/Economy, Tue, 04 Feb 2014 IANS

Chennai, Feb 4 (IANS) Japanese auto major Nissan Motor Company hopes to clock 50 percent of its sales volumes from its Datsun models in India, a senior company official said.

"Datsun will account for 50 percent of the total Nissan's sales in India," Toshiyuki Shiga, vice chairman, Nissan Motor Company said at a company function to commemorate the rolling out of the Datsun Go model near here.

He said the customers of Datsun want more value for money without compromising on vehicle features.

Nissan Tuesday rolled out its hatch-back model Datsun Go at its joint venture plant near here. The company has partnered with French auto major Renault to set up the 400,000 units per annum plant at Oragadam, around 50 km from here.

The Indian plant is the first factory globally to roll out the resurrected Datsun models. Nissan had put the Datsun brand into cold storage in 1980.

Nissan will roll out the Datsun models later in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

"All the Datsun models will be priced below Rs.400,000," Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president, Datsun Business Unit said.

He said four years of hard work has gone in to the launch of Datsun. It is the dream of meeting the demand of emerging middle class.

Cobee said Nissan hopes to sell more than 300,000 Datsun badged vehicles in India, South Africa, Russia and Indonesia.

In India the Datsun models will be available for sale from March onwards.

Nissan Motor India will be responsible for distribution, sales and service of the Datsun models.

The sales of Nissan badged models will be done by Hover Automotive India Pvt Ltd.

According to Cobee the traditional car market - western markets - are stagnating and the growth is happening in newer markets like China, India and others.

"By 2020 the global car market is expected to be around 100 million and two-thirds of that will be outside the western world," Cobee said.

To a query about Nissan achieving 10 percent global market share by 2016 given the tough market conditions, Cobee agreed that it is a challenge.

According to Cobee, the production at its Indian plant can go up to 480,000 units per annum and if needed the plant can expand here or look at a new location.

On the company's decision to resurrect the Datsun brand that was put in cold storage three decades back, Cobee said: "There is an existing brand. It is a brand of global repute."

"Consumers may not be aware of the death of the brand especially in India where the car market is relatively new with many buyers born after 1980," Ramanujam Sridhar, founder CEO, Brand-Comm a brand consulting company told IANS.

He said many brands see a lot of scope in the small car market and India is still a "have to be present in" market for most brands.

"As far as the Indian consumer is concerned, it is one more brand choice in a market that is already spoilt for choice. It will do well if it catches the consumer's fancy," Sridhar said.

According to him, it is more expensive to create a brand from scratch and Datsun has an automobile pedigree.

"The negative of an existing brand is that the competition will tell the trade and the customers that it is a failed brand. But a high profile launch and good reviews and reassurance on the service can sort this problem out," he said.

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