So what do you do if you are a ‘proper’ carmaker; one which designs, tests and quality controls its cars before launch, but can’t comply to those high standards when it comes to matching a price point for developing nations, like, say India? One way is to say ‘to hell with compliance, all I want is the money’, and start deviating from the core values of the brand to make compromised cars that everyone can afford. The second, more subtle way is to create a sub-brand – something which stands for inexpensive and not-so-premium products. Bring down the expectations, so that it doesn’t hurt to know that you’re driving a sub-standard product. At least you got it cheap!
The latest buzz on the internet about such a not-so-premium sub-brand is that of Datsun. Nissan took over the brand in 1933, and discontinued the label in March 1986. Now Nissan is mulling bringing the label back for emerging markets. The brand will be used for price-sensitive markets to introduce new, inexpensive models. According to some reports, the models introduced under the new brand will not cost anything more than $5,000 or Rs 2.25 lakh.
The cars under the new badge will most likely use Nissan’s small car platform with lower spec engines and underpinning and stripped down interiors to match the target price. No word yet on the names of the markets where the brand will be introduced. The top honchos at Nissan are still pondering over whether or not to make the move. One thing is for sure though, if Datsun comes into existence, Indian would surely be a place where it will be launched.