Nissan is now a three-marque company. The revived Datsun brand was launched in Gurgoan, India today to much fanfare at a theater called the Kingdom of Dreams. The new car, christened the Datsun GO, took its name from the DAT GO, Nissan’s — or the company that became Nissan, rather — first car built 99 years ago.
In 1911, Masujiro Hashimoto established Kaishinsha Motorcar Works (literally, Advanced Motorcar Works) in Tokyo. The DAT Model 31 prototype was unveiled at the 1914 Tokyo Taisho Expo, named after Hashimoto’s three investors, Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuichi. It was followed a year later by the Model 41, the luxury model, powered by a 2.3-liter four making 15 horsepower.
The 2014 Datsun GO, on the other hand, takes Nissan’s existing 1.2-liter three-cylinder, which makes 79hp in a Nissan March, and mates it to a 5-speed manual.
Here’s a video of the unveiling, complete with a clip of the Bollywood dance number.
Like the DAT GO, it’s about a basic a piece of transportation as you can get, but it’s meant for developing countries like India. Local manufacture is also planned for Russia, Indonesia and South Africa.
It looks remarkably faithful to the sketches released a couple of weeks ago and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Toyota Vitz/Yaris from the rear. Swap out its dinky budget basement pie pans for some proper barrels and it might not look too bad.
Executive Design Director for Datsun Koji Nagano explains, “Our Datsun may be the first car that many of our clients are buying. It needs to have car-like qualities, as well as be very quick and sporty. The basic essence of what people want in a car, such as being solid and modern, is also important and we have made efforts to include them in the design.”
The interior is simple and modern, with power windows and smartphone USB connectivity built into the stereo. Pricing will start a 400,000 rupees, or about $6,700 USD.
It’s not the Datsun most American enthusiasts nostalgic for the days of Pete Brock’s Trans-Am racers were hoping for, but Nissan expects that India alone will contribute half of all Nissan’s sales by 2016.
Product planner Koichiro Okamoto explains, “There are several common characteristics among them. One is that they are very optimistic about their future. Their next dream is to own a car and try new things with their car. However, their lifestyle, family structures, road and parking conditions are different.”
The Datsun name has had three major debuts now spanning a century of human history. The first were introduced to a developing country barely dipping a toe into modernization, where roads were rough and its citizens mostly poor. That was Japan, 99 years ago.
The second time Datsun was used, it changed the way America, home to the largest automotive culture on earth, thought about motoring. In its third act, it enters yet another developing nation on the rise. Who knows, perhaps the Indian John Morton will get his start in a Datsun.
Images courtesy of Nissan.
Is this a re-bodied Dacia Sandero? Dacia is part of the Renault-Nissan empire, and this car has the looks of and essential idea of the Sandero.
The Dacia Sandero, which is based on the Logan platform, is actually a bit larger. The Logan has a wheelbase of 2,634 mm while the Datsun Go only has a wheelbase of 2,450 mm.
Instead, it appears that the Datsun Go is really just a rebodied K13 Nissan March (which is based on Nissan’s Type V platform). Aside from the fact that they share the same engine, the wheelbase is identical, with the March’s wheelbase measuring 2,449 mm. Changes in the bodywork probably explain the fact that the Go is a bit skinnier and shorter than the March, but still, they’re close enough that I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Go is based on the Type V platform.
March L x W x H – 3,780 x 1,666 x 1,514
Go L x W x H – 3,785 x 1,635 x 1,485
I’ve always held that the Nissan March has been one of the last bastions of defense against the “larger and heavier is better” ideology that has been plaguing manufacturers as of late. The newest March weighs just 950 kg, which is still quite a long ways from the scant 700 kg of the 1st generation, is still pretty lightweight. The little 1.2 liter engine pumps out just 79 hp, but given the lightweight, it actually ends up with a similar power to weight ratio as a first generation Honda Civic!
If memory serves, the Sandero is a decontented Tiida/Versa/Clio/Modus as they are all built on the Nissan B platform.
It looks like it should be a smaller hatchback than it is. Pretty huge when folks are standing next ro it.
I have no problem with Nissan expanding their business to less wealthy countries, but what was the problem with just selling “Nissan” products instead of bringing back the Datsun name as a backer for boring economy cars?
I would have preferred a Datsun comeback that included affordable sports cars aimed at North American and Japanese markets.
Agree totally. Who’s to say they won’t?
We at Nissan are happy selling a lot of CVT Sentra’s and Altima’s……….
The market doesn’t seem to exist for an entire brand devoted to affordable sports cars. Even Mazda has had to diversify into crossovers. Be happy that we get the 86, BRZ and MX-5 and leave it at that.
What’s likely in my opinion is that Nissan doesn’t want to bring its brand identity down to the level of these bargain basement cars. Whether the renewed brand excels or fails, they can always point to “Datsun” instead of taking a perceived hit to the Nissan name. Car sales are all about perception these days.
Why? Datsun has always been based on economy cars… that was the draw. When the 510 came out it was branded as the best car for under $2000. It was cheap and didnt have many options. What options it did have were quality though and was a great base car to build on.
It makes sense that they are sticking to the same formula with the newer Datsuns.
And unfortunately since the GO isnt gracing US shores, its not visually designed for American buyers. If you look at the markets its being released in, micro cars are all the rage. Maybe in the future they will try something new and come to the US. We can only hope… then again, I wouldnt be torn up if they didnt. I like my 69 510 and it does just fine as my daily.
Sorry to be super blunt but this car is an ugly piece of sh!+!!! I can’t believe they tainted the DATSUN brand with this thing!!!!!!!! Another car maker to get it horribly wrong. I feel for our children with the classics they have to choose from!!!
Why, because AMC Pacers and Toyota Camrys were incredibly involving cars in their day? Not everything has to be a sports car.
for $6700, i’d buy it in the US…
With our emissions and crash regulations, for $15,000 you’d buy it in the US. I’m disappointed too. By spending $7,000 on the car, imagine how much money you’d have left over for suspension, wheels/tires and engine mods!
The ideology behind the re-vamp of the Datsun brand is not to please or cater to the smaller group of Datsun die hards….its more in line with price points and capturing a huge untapped market of buyers with limited resources that can either settle for a used car or buy a new car for the same cost. I think it’s not even about the car… i think it’s about affordability in today’s bigger and expensive is better consumer markets…. Datsun is the brand that embodied the idology of compact, cheap and effective first….it so happened to become FUN when owners discovered the merits of the vehicle. Hopefully the car/s will live up to the existing legacy and acquire a following deserving of the Datsun brand.
I dont care what it says on the badge, that is not a Datsun. Im really unhappy with Nissan’s decision about using the name for cars they could have sold as Nissans, while catering to us enthusiasts with a Scion-esque brand of affordable cars with enough go to please the performance minded.
Sorry Nissan this is a fail !!!!!!!!
Stick to selling your ugly jukes and altimas.
Your cars have lost there souls.
The 370z is the only car worth it’s salt
The Skyline GTR automatic only….?????
Not a fan of this car, but at least the brand name is back and it can go places from there. I still don’t see why this isn’t just a Nissan though. Nissan certainly sells enough low end cars for this to fit right in.