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‘Urban runabout’ Datsun makes comeback

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IMAGE: Nissan Motor Company »


If you were a car buff in the 1960s and 70s, or love that era, you know about Datsun. Does it ever ring a bell? Well, before there was Toyota, there was Datsun. The first cars went on sale in Japan in 1931, a half a decade before Toyota’s.

BusinessDay motoring correspondent who had a glimpse of the new Datsun in Pretoria was heard it on good authority in Rosslyn that Datsun was  a key part of the global car market until 1986, when Datsun’s owner, Nissan Motor Company, controversially scrapped the brand name in favour of its own. But Datsun is now set to make a dramatic comeback to alter the global automotive landscape.

Like Toyota, Datsun got off to a slow start, but it gained followers through the fuel efficient B-210 compact (sold as the Bluebird overseas) and the Z sports car, still considered a classic. Its high-powered fans included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who even appeared in a Datsun commercial.

In this week’s piece, this section will be taking a look at the all-new model called the Datsun GO. This is the first offering bearing the redesigned and modernised Datsun brand to take to Africa’s roads since the early 1980′s, is not marking a return of one of the sub-Saharan Africa favourite brand, but also the manufacturer’s entry into the hotly-contested entry level segment of the market.

The Datsun GO will spearhead the re-entry of the brand that became a legend in the 1960’s, 1970’s,  thus becoming market leader between 1976 and 1978 – and 80′s when the nameplate was associated with vehicles that offered quality and reliability at an affordable price for their owners.

While finally available,  the Datsun GO will be a natural choice for younger, first time buyers or people looking for a vehicle that could be used as a comfortable, stylish and fuel efficient ‘urban runabout’.

The model will seek to reassert Datsun’s presence in the entry level segment in the market and will be the first vehicle off the floors of its dealerships that will soon dot the consumers landscape.

In most markets for instance, dealerships across the country  had started opening their doors to kick-start selling. The vehicles will enjoy the full product and service support expected of one of the world’s most renowned names from ‘Day One’.

In South African for instance, Datsun GO will be available through 44 dealerships across the country, with the aim of increasing to 60 by end of fiscal year in March next year.  South Africa is the hub of many vehicles export into the rest of sub-Sahara Africa, and Nigeria is among the most-sought-after destination of choice.

They will exist within the Nissan dealer framework with a mix of dedicated and common showroom configurations. The sales experience will be unique, but the level of after-sales service will be leveraged off the existing Nissan dealer network.

The fully imported cars taking their place on South Africa’s roads and the rest of the  African market will be imported as completely assembled units from India, where the Datsun GO became a feature in early 2014. Since then it has also made its entry into Indonesia.

The decision to launch it to spearhead the return to South Africa was based on the identified needs of the market, seen as first-time new car buyers who were looking for an affordable vehicle that offered modern styling and great economy.

The five- speed manual Datsun GO weighs in at 1152 kgs. It is powered by a direct Overhead camshaft (DOHC) 12-valve, three cylinder, fuel injected petrol engine with a displacement of 1198cc. Maximum power of 50kW is delivered at 5000 rpm, Torque is a respectable 104 Nm produced at 4000 rpm with a frugal fuel economy that takes about 5.2 litres per 100 kilometer in a combined urban and rural cycle trip.

Article Credit: Businessdayonline

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Nissan Motor Company     Toyota     Datsun