The Datsun Story

The Datsun Story

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Home to the majority of the world’s population…high-growth markets like India, Indonesia and Russia. are expected to grow three times faster than developed economies by 2020. And in these markets is an increasing population of middle-class. Consumers who, for the first time in their lives, have disposable income. They have the same aspirations as their counterparts in developed economies; education, job, family, home… and a car. For Nissan Motor, this is an opportunity. We are here to make an offer to make sure that every single person who would love to buy a car can buy a car, and can buy a car from our company. That’s the reason for which we are launching the Datsun brand.

The iconic Datsun brand had transformed personal mobility in Japan and around the world. Datsun was known for a product, which was robust, reliable and affordable. and we’re going to add to it good quality, and we are going to add it it modernity. D.A.T. in the Datsun brand name. representing the core values of Dream, Access, Trust. became the brand’s guiding philosophy. Making the Dream of car ownership a reality;. Providing Access to worry-free car ownership; and. Delivering Trust – by ensuring transparency, sincerity, and reliability. This philosophy guides Datsun’s approach. in developing products, nurturing customer relationships,. building business partnerships, and contributing to society.

The first four markets (Datsun entered) were India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. Datsun is going to be a global brand with a local product. So we are going to fit the product to the market. Vincent Cobee has vast experience in business development. and project management at Nissan. He was tapped to spearhead the Datsun business. So it’s an amazing challenge to. bring back an iconic brand and make it a. new source of pride of ownership. for new customers around the world. The first three markets identified were – India, Indonesia, and Russia. Those 3 markets have things in common in spite of their geographic differences. High population, stable growth and a very optimistic emerging middle class.

South Africa became the fourth market. Why South Africa?. This is a historical country for Datsun. In the late 70s, Datsun was the number one brand in South Africa. South Africa is obviously the entrance to the continent of Africa. Which is to be very clear, the next big thing in the car industry. The Datsun team embarked on an ambitious plan to. launch the new Datsun and have. the first models on sale by 2014. Koichiro Okamoto was tasked with researching the markets in-depth and developing the product line-up. In India, the core of the market is the 5-door hatchback. While in Indonesia, MPVs, cars with 3 rows of seats, comprise 60 percent of the market share.

We developed a family on which we made a hatchback called the Datsun GO focusing on India. and a 3 row 7-seater called GO+ focusing on Indonesia. And then we expanded those products’ capabilities. to make sure they could actually be attractive in both markets. For Russia, core of the market means bigger cars,. bigger engines, higher speed,. higher level of equipment. So we defined for Russia a completely. different line-up of a sedan called Datsun on-DO. and a hatchback called Datsun mi-DO which were focusing on the particular demands of the Russian customers. The team focused on a product offer tailored to the desires of emerging middle-class consumers -. a modern, quality car they could trust and be proud to own. I think modernity is very important for Datsun.

Because we have these customers and they are looking for something very new, they are looking for something very trendy. We also want to grow with them, we are not relying on just the heritage of Datsun. That’s the importance of modernity for Datsun. I mean the potential of growth is huge. India will be the third world market in terms of automotive by 2020. Indian market want new things. A very young market who aspires to new releases, new products on a very regular basis. The first Datsun model targeted the entry-level segment. This is a very very price sensitive and competitive segment.

We will see a lot more offerings which are technologically fairly competent,. without having to compromise on performance characteristics as well. From his base in India,. Datsun’s former Assistant Chief Vehicle Engineer, Krishnan Sundararajan,. started developing both the GO and GO+ with the local team. to realise the concept conceived by product planning. We will give emotional value to the customer and we will also. make them proud to own the Datsun  brand. And we have put the best technologies to. give the best specifications at least in the segment. Datsun GO and GO+ are best in class in terms of. fuel economy, driving performance, styling, roominess and durability.

We have to show to the market that there is a new tradition possible,. to tell them that for the same cost, you can have more. You can have more power, more room, more design. As Datsun  brand, we didn’t want to compromise on. quality, reliability and durability. The next challenge was to produce and. deliver the cars at a competitive price. This has been a very deliberate strategy from the beginning. So it’s necessary that we can build a car at the lowest TDC, total delivered cost,. in order that we can price it competitively in the market. The Renault-Nissan Alliance manufacturing plant in Oragadam, Chennai,. produces vehicles based on the ‘Alliance Production Way’. to ensure highest quality but also. locally sources 95% of the components for Datsun models. Supplier capability is a key element for us to build a car that meets the customer requirements and expectations.

We work with the suppliers closely through the production preparation period,. and also after production in order to get continuous improvement. Mando Automotive is a tier-one supplier. to the plant, producing. electric power steering and brake components. We worked with Renault-Nissan teams trying to see what we can localize,. (using) their extensive trials, design approvals, product parts approvals. The speed that which Renault-Nissan worked with us in terms of. localization to gain the competitiveness was fabulous. Proximity of suppliers to the factory also translates into efficiency. Staying close to the customer,. definitely helps / ensuring quick deliveries. We have just in time supplies coming out of our plants. on a regular basis to the plants of Renault-Nissan.

We’ve been on this for four years,. we launched production yesterday,. today is the official start of sale of. Datsun GO in India. First Datsun in the 21st century. Datsun is an answer to respond to the dreams of many Indians. The next step after the two wheelers is to have a (real) car,. that is trustworthy, reliable, built-up with good quality, fuel efficient, roomy enough for the whole family. and even more. The Datsun GO is a custom fit for India. For Indonesia, where big families are the norm,. the team developed the GO+, featuring three rows of seats in a compact body.

Everyone knows that Indonesia is a market of MPV. Everybody’s like “Wow! You’re so brave, you’re bringing an MPV with such price. where everyone else is bringing just a hatchback”. so that was really a very good strategy. When Indonesia was selected as one of the first countries to launch Datsun,. of course we are (were) very excited,. because we have a strong belief that the Indonesian market will grow a lot. We need to have a suitable product for the market. Forecast to increase exponentially to 140 million people by 2020,. Indonesia’s rising middle-class are aspiring, ambitious and optimistic. Ties to family and community are their priority,. and a car represents more than just a mode of transport. Sandy, a musician and a high school music teacher,. is a new Datsun owner. He upgraded from a two-wheeler to cater to his growing family.

He also uses the GO+ to move around with his band. Sandy joined his local Datsun GO+ community and a sticker decal. on the car’s window displays his DGCI member’s number. Recognizing the importance of community,. Datsun Indonesia organizes Datsun Day every year. The event attracts people from all over the country. from the Datsun-curious to die-hard Datsun fans. Another community initiative is “Datsun Rising Challenge”. We encourage young entrepreneurs of Indonesia. to submit their business proposal to us. We selected the best business proposal and we equip them with all the knowledge. they need to sustain the business and make it profitable.

Datsun is acting as a facilitator to make their dreams come true. Woro triumphed over 1000 competitors to win a new Datsun GO+ and cash with her. environmentally-friendly business making sulphate and paraffin-free soap. I really don’t have much time for me, for us as a couple. so I thought “Why don’t we start a business together?”. so we could have our time together, we work together. Having a car makes my business better because. I can deliver my soap without getting wet,. can get a lot of soap in my car. More delivery to go,. more people to approach. Everyday I have a different experience. After I won this competition, I got more publicity. I was interviewed by two television networks,. a lot of people ordered my soap. My goal is that everyone in Indonesia knows my soap.

For Datsun owners like Sandy and Woro, access to a car has helped them achieve their dreams. Datsun is now seen as an aspirational brand,. and this kind of impress me a lot because those people are. thinking that if they are excel to the next level -. to the better future, they will think of Datsun as their new car. Russia, as the largest country in the world with extremes of geography,. climate and road conditions, required a completely different approach. Success in this landscape hinged upon having a strong local partner, AvtoVAZ. For us, it was an amazing opportunity.

We could collaborate with a company having the best knowledge of the Russian customer and the Russian market,. a very capable plant located in Togliatti and. we built with AvtoVAZ a win-win collaboration. AvtoVAZ employs some 55,000 workers and has one of the largest car manufacturing plants in Europe. with capacity to produce up to 1.4 million cars a year. This win-win should continue allowing us to reach 40% market share with. a level of profit that would have been impossible. if each one was going his own way. When I look at AvtoVAZ, its a great Russian company. To tell our workers that we have the opportunity to build world-class Datsun products, it’s first a big responsibility.

This also helps us to improve our own production processes and. our own production quality. so I would say it’s difficult but if we do everything right,. yes, it’s a win-win. Maxim Sarzhin, chief vehicle engineer for the. Datsun on-DO sedan and Datsun  mi-DO hatchback was put in charge. to realize the project from AvtoVAZ. In order to manufacture cars to the specified quality, production lines were rapidly modernized using the Kaizen approach,. the Japanese principle of continuous improvement and enhancement. Partnering with Avtovaz was key. but the business needed successful dealer partnerships too. Jerome Saigot, then head of Datsun Russia,. had to first convince existing Nissan dealers. to take on the new brand. It was a very crucial moment for us. because we thought at that time that we had only one chance. to convince them to invest in the brand.

But at that time we didn’t have anything to show only some sketch,. only some draft of the dealership and the business case. Based on established trust and experience working with Nissan,. many dealers readily invested. We have selected the best dealers,. the best performance in terms of sales and after sales. and those who were financially strong. We started with 23 branded new outlets in September 2014. The dealers understood that Datsun and Nissan. are complementing and. I think that this is also the key success factor of the Datsun brand. Datsun’s philosophy of “Dream, Access and Trust”. extends beyond products and customers. It’s a promise to local business partners as well.

We really have a fantastic network and we have dealers who are supporting the brand. We need to continue to grow the brand, make the brand known,. better so, make the brand appreciated by our customers. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society -. without any fear. a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world. The history in South Africa is no secret. The rainbow nation was born. I think it opened up a lot of opportunities for everybody. In South Africa, there is an abundance of energy and a generation of. optimistic youths living better than their parents.

They have more freedom, more choices and more opportunities. We’ve become more daring, we’re colorful now, we’re full of innovation. We want to do all sorts of exciting things and in order for one to meet that kind of lifestyle. one’s own mobility is a very necessary thing. Despite government efforts, public transportation infrastructure in South Africa remains underdeveloped and fragmented. Trains, buses and minibus taxis are the common modes of public transport. Fares are cheap but service is infrequent. Aw man, there’s a lot of challenges because. first of all, the bus schedules, they are never on time. Sometimes they don’t come, the buses are very inconsistent,. and when they are full, they don’t let you on. And if you are lucky enough to get in, then you would stand. Sometimes they tend to strike on random days, So, I give up and then I go back home. You have to wait a very long time, so you can’t really rely too much on public transport. You know, in order to honor appointments and to be accessible. we do need cars.

I think a car would give me much more independence, more freedom. It’d be so easy, oh my soul. I wouldn’t have to worry who gets me to school early when it’s time for my test. Yes, we all aspire to get our own cars. Kitty Moepang, freelance performer and NGO volunteer,. has accomplished just that. Now I have my Datsun Go,. before that it was a bit of a mission. I needed something efficient, something I could afford. Since I’ve got my car, a lot of things have changed. I think it’s allowed me to take more jobs, and being able to take more jobs means making a bigger income. Bigger income means getting and achieving my goals. And I also needed something with great petrol consumption.

The cheaper my running cost and production costs are,. the better it is for me to carry on doing what I love. Customers like Kitty can rely on Datsun’s comprehensive after sales service. to keep her car and her life, running smoothly. We’ve been able to put a viable proposition to a rising middle class. who now needs a job to be able to. afford a car to be able to better one’s self in life. We’ve achieved quite a lot, in the last five years. moving from a project, a white sheet of paper to. selling more than a 100 thousand cars around the world. Look around you.

There’s a number of countries, areas in the world where population is growing, income is growing,. and the demand for individual mobility is progressively emerging. You can always expect us to be very keen in supporting the emergence of. a very aspirational middle class in. many countries around the world. This is just the beginning of Datsun’s return. The values of “Dream, Access and Trust” will continue to influence. the next phase in the Datsun story. Empowering people to achieve their dream. Trusting that life will get better.

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