Datsun is expanding

2015-11-11 06:00
THE Datsun Redi GO is the third vehicle from the Japanese automaker as part of its relaunch strategy.

THE Datsun Redi GO is the third vehicle from the Japanese automaker as part of its relaunch strategy.

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IT has been 12 months since the iconic Datsun brand returned to South Africa with the launch of its GO hatchback.

The Go hatchback sparked Datsun’s brand revival in South Africa, but was its value proposition enough to overcome safety-conscious buyers?

In South Africa it is sold without ABS and airbags, the latter has since been installed in local vehicles.

Datsun will expand its local line-up with the addition of the new GO+ (a long-wheel base version of the hatchback) and the Redi-GO (a small hatchback).

The automaker also revealed a new crossover concept at the 2015 Tokyo auto show.

Wheels24 spoke to Datsun South Africa’s managing director, Des Fenner.

How has the public responded to Datsun’s return?

Our impact has been quite dramatic. We have seen sales of the Datsun GO reach 5 972 units since the car hit South Africa’s roads in October 2014, causing the model to soar to first position in the A segment in the critical dealer channel, where it continues to lead.

The high volume of GOs that have driven off our dealers’ floors is testament to the model’s mass appeal, and has done much to secure its place as a serious contender for the future.

What are some of the new models headed for Sout Africa?

New models are GO+ planned for mid next year, followed by the cool Redi-GO later in the calendar year (pending approval) and the GO Cross for introduction in 2017-’18, giving Datsun a minimum of a four-car line up within the space of five years!

How has Datsun responded to the Global NCAP safety saga in 2014?

Datsun cars meet local vehicle regulations in the countries they are sold. These models were developed with a strong intention to deliver adapted solutions to the local conditions, from perfect braking performance and good visibility to durability, seat comfort and reduced motion sickness – all being taken as a package aim to decrease potential risk of road accidents. Datsun GO with driver’s airbag is available in South Africa.

Road safety is a top-of-mind customer concern and is of paramount importance to us as a automaker. Safety improvements are a never-ending journey. Making progress on road safety necessitates a cooperative effort among government authorities, customer groups and vehicle manufacturers.

Addressing road safety requires consideration of traffic infrastructure, human factors, driving skills, accident prevention and mitigation measures, and the overall improvement of vehicle performance. Datsun actively promotes driving skills improvement activities for different groups of customers, such as first-time car buyers, younger drivers and female drivers. Recently Datsun launched a unique driving teaching programme in South Africa, which aims to improve driving skills and overall safety on the roads.

What’s next for Datsun? African expansion?

With the new car line-up planned, we are at that point where we move Datsun GO into countries like Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Will we see the return of the SSS badge or a new Go Nismo?

We would love to introduce a SSS badge or a Dats-mo performance vehicle. Our aim remains to stay focused on providing mobility for first-time new car buyers.

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