After Datsun, our vision is to launch an ultra low-cost car: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn
Fifty years ago, the Datsun brand helped establish Nissan's fortunes in the US. But in 1981, brand Datsun was discontinued globally in a bid by the Japanese carmaker to unify the model line-up under the Nissan brand.
Today, Nissan is hoping that the resurrection of one of its most iconic brands in emerging markets such as India and Russia will replicate the same success that followed the launch of Datsun in the US. In what we assume will be the group's largest offensive ever, Datsun has been relaunched in India, bringing with it a whole new value proposition. And from the first look of the new car, dubbed the GO, which will go on sale in 2014, we can safely say that they are on to something big here. OVERDRIVE's Shereen Bhan speaks to Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., to find out more about the company's plans for India.
Carlos Ghosn with the new Datsun
Q: Is Datsun your new ultra low-cost car?
A: No, the Datsun is not the new ultra low-cost car. Datsun is about reliability, modernity, affordability and high value. With the latest technology, the Datsun is about bringing back these values to high-growth markets such as India.
Q: Is there a future for the ultra low-cost car?
Q: So you are not giving up on that?
A: Not at all. You are going to see ultra low-cost cars coming. You are going to see cars coming at a lower price points and addressing different kinds of markets. There is a huge demand for cars with high value and affordability.
Q: What gives you the confidence?
A: I was the first one to recognise the value of the Nano because it addressed a need that nobody had.
Q: But the car failed?
A: That is a different story. The car is the answer to the need and the need is still there. There is a potential for a car that can meet those needs and that is what we are pursuing.
Q: When you are going to launch a low-cost car?
A: Within the next two years.
Q: Will it be priced lower than the Datsun but higher than the Nano?
A: Exactly. That is exactly the specific price-point that we will be aiming at.
Q: Will Nissan launch the model in association with a domestic partner?
A: Let us first launch the Datsun. This is not the end of what we will launch in the high-growth markets. With a strong stable of models under the Datsun brand, we will then focus on our version of the ultra low-cost car.
Q: Do you believe that you can continue your partnership with Bajaj Auto on the quadricycle?
A: We do not think that we have to do everything that others do. I think Bajaj has a very original vision and have been very successful in the market. But I do not think we can replicate what they do. We will launch our own answer to those needs in the market. Though I do not think we are going to launch a quadricycle in India, but our vision is to launch an ultra low-cost car.
Interview conducted by Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor CNBC TV18 with Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
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