Nissan will launch its Datsun brand in Russia in April 2014, as it tries to attract young first-time buyers away from used vehicles to its sub-RUR400,000 ($12,100) model. After more than two decades of retiring the Datsun brand, Nissan announced in 2012 that it would re-launch the small car in emerging markets like Indonesia, India, Russia and South Africa.
"The main objective (in Russia) is to be a serious alternative to the used car market - this is where we want to compete," Jerome Saigot, director of Datsun in Russia, said. Saigot expects around six million used cars to be sold in Russia this year. The country boasts of a growing middle class with disposable income, low car density and an aging fleet on the road, but is suffering from slowing economic growth and slumping new car sales.
Autostat recently said that it expects new car sales to drop 5 percent next year. Saigot, however, is confident that there is room for growth in lower-cost cars. The sub-RUR400,000 segment currently accounts for around a quarter of the new car market at about 700,000 cars. It is expected to grow to 900,000 cars with about the same market share by 2017."
Saigot remarked that the sub-RUR400,000 segment is a “big piece of the market” where we don't currently have any offering. Once it enters the market, Datsun will rival Avtovaz's Lada. Saigot, however, remarked that the two brands would target different customers, with Datsun targeting first-time buyers. Avtovaz is Nissan’s partner in Russia. Nissan will build the Datsun at Avtovaz's Togliatti site. Saigot said first deliveries are planned between August and September. [source: Reuters]