Datsun recently said goodbye to India, and though it is not a big shocker, it still is another foreign company that has fled the Indian market. Datsun was known for catering to the low budget segments of India. Vehicles such as the GO were a first car for thousands looking for a cheap set of wheels. Today, let’s take a look at the history of Datsun in India, and what led them to take a step back.
History of Datsun in India
Datsun is a subsidiary brand from Nissan, a very well known Japanese car manufacturer. While Nissan has been doing well globally, their standing in the Indian market has seen countless ups and downs. Datsun motors came into the picture in 2014, starting out with the GO hatchback. “An ambitious brand for the rising Indian consumers” is what Datsun called itself when it launched the GO in 2014. In the last few months, Datsun has only sold a few thousand units in India. For Datsun, India is not the only market where it has been underperforming. They had already stopped manufacturing in Indonesia and Russia in 2020. Datsun could never create the brand image that it was actually capable of.
What went wrong?
A couple of things, actually. Firstly, even before the brand was launched, the Datsun GO came out of the GNCAP with a 0 Star Safety Rating. Safety ratings weren’t a big decision-maker at that time, but getting an outright 0 did catch some unwanted attention towards the brand. Datsun was meant to be an affordable, value for money manufacturer in India, and in the world, but somehow, it just came off as cheap. Indian buyers want the lowest prices, but they certainly don’t want cheap cars. Moreover, at that time, the Datsun GO was a direct competition to the Maruti Suzuki Alto, a car that had already gained the trust of millions of Indians. While being as cheap as the Alto, Datsun offered more space, but this space brought along multiple places where cost-cutting was highly visible. This again, made the car feel cheap, even when compared to the Alto!
As of 20th April 2022, Nissan has pulled the plug on Datsun India. Ever since the launch of the Magnite, Nissan has been re-emerging in the Indian market. It is a good decision to put more focus on the Nissan brand, rather than trying to resuscitate Datsun. Moreover, with stiff competition coming up from Indian manufacturers such as Maruti Suzuki and Tata, the affordable hatchback segment doesn’t have much room for more players (unless someone comes in with a sub 8 Lakh EV!).
Would you have gone for a Datsun given the choice? Let us know in the comments!