In 2013, the Japanese automaker Nissan re-launched its long defunct Datsun brand which was phased out by 1986. Nissan Motors is also reportedly exploring the possibilities of re-launching its different models along with Datsun brand in Pakistan. There is also a strong possibility that Renault of France, being a global partner of Nissan, may follow to introduce their products. As per global practice Nissan and Renault had been launched simultaneously in some countries.
Management meetings are underway between Nissan Motors and Ghandhara Nissan Ltd (GNL) to discuss various aspects like product specification, price positioning, expected market growth and most importantly meeting the standardized localization for new entrant.
“GNL is in process of finalizing with Nissan Motor Japan for the necessary preparation to start production of Nissan and Datsun initially,” Senior Executive Director Marketing and Sales, GNL, Muazzam Pervaiz Khan told Dawn. “Efforts are underway to initially assemble two brands at the company’s existing production facilities for which the company is expanding production capacity and investing in jigs, fixtures and tooling etc.”
GNL expects an investment of over Rs. 2 billion for Nissan and Datsun vehicles as the infrastructure of production facility already exists. Vehicle production would create a number of jobs. “We plan to enter the market by the end of 2016 or first quarter of 2017,” Muazzam said.
“The Japanese manufacturer is now very cautious in view of stiff competition with already established Japanese players,” he said, adding that the company is evaluating various market studies as to how it will offer competitive prices as compared to its rivals. The car maker is also seriously thinking about the design, quality and safety features that can lure more buyers.
Based on government parameters of achieving the localization, the company will strive to meet the standard localization percentage within the stipulated period of time as per the government regulation, he said.
The government is trying to attract new investors in green field projects and revival of unutilized plants. According to Muazzam, the possibility of green field is remote due to small TIV (total industry volume). However, the unutilized plants would be a big attraction for new players as the investment is relatively low and secondly the project can be launched in a short period.
He added that there are no two opinions about the dire need of new entrant in passenger car and light commercial vehicle segments. He recalled Nissan Sunny was launched as CKD units in 1995 and 2006 but did not leave a good impact in the market due to some internal problems. He said import of used cars is definitely a drawback for the local stakeholders as well as for the vending industry that invested billions of rupees on their infrastructure and created thousands of jobs. Via dawn
Datsun Go targets the first-time car buyers and the impressive feat is, the entire car was developed in India while Japan only contributed the critical R&D support with the local Indian team.
The car is sold in India starting from just INR 3.26 lac (which converts into PKR 5.02 lac only). Datsun Go comes equipped with a 1.2 liter petrol engine with 67bhp and a claimed fuel economy of 20.6 km/liter. Standard features across all variants include digital tachometer, drive computer that displays instantaneous fuel economy, average fuel economy and distance to empty, follow-me-home headlamps, speed sensitive wipers and a silver finish front radiator grille.
What are Follow-me-home headlamps??
A practical, safety conscious innovation designed to light the interior of a garage or a path to the front door after the car has been locked. Follow Me Home activates the dipped beams and sidelights. The driver simply operates the light flasher stalk within two minutes of switching off the engine. Each time the stalk is operated, light activation is extended by 30 seconds up to a maximum of three-and-a-half minutes. In this way it somewhat ensures safety (to make sure u don’t fall, trip or dash against something and also lets u know of any dangers in the path).
With the lack of available options in the low-budget segment, the Datsun Go can be a vital addition. However the prime concern remains the past record of Gandhara Nissan in delivering quality service & after sales support. Datsun/ Nissan cars had a very reliable & trustworthy image among car buyers in Pakistan from the 60s up until the late 80s. However, Gandhara wasn’t able to keep up with the brand’s stature in case of the Sunny cars due to their internal problems as admitted by company officials at various platforms. We hope that this time they will play their cards right.
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A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com