Unlike in India, the Datsun brand has some legacy in South Africa as it was participating in the local market until 1981. In its first life, the Datsun brand made city cars, family cars and sports cars.
In its 21st century reincarnation, it will restrict itself to low-cost vehicles designed for customers who are buying a car for the first time or a used car.
South Africa will get its first Datsun model once India, Russia and Indonesia are addressed. This would be sometime during late 2014. The Datsun model will be fully imported during the time of launch. There is no confirmation for now, but the Renault-Nissan alliance plant in Chennai which will manufacture Datsuns, could be a point of sourcing for the South African market. Nissan India exports its V-Platform products to African countries and there’s a strong trade relationship between the two countries on passenger cars.
Nissan plans to sell Datsun to the first time car buyer and once he’s at the end of the ownership lifecycle and is about to upgrade, it will present the Nissan brand of cars to him. As his disposable income rises, one day, Nissan believes, he will be ready for an Infiniti. As and when the customer is ready to graduate, Datsun, Nissan and Infiniti will have products tailored to suit his lifestyle.
Sources have told IndianAutosBlog.com that Datsun plans to launch two vehicles, codenamed K2 and I2, in India in 2014. The K2 is a Micra-based B segment hatchback, while the I2 is an A segment car along the lines of the Eon and Spark. A third car, based on the K2, would be launched sometime in 2015, according to another source. Either the K2 or the I2 could be shipped to South Africa late next year.
Datsun’s first product for the Russian market is most likely the re-engineered Lada Granta. The strategy is that Datsun will sell region-specific cars, while Nissan and Infiniti brands will sell cars chosen from the global stable.