Nissan Motor Co. will start offering its first Datsun model in India by March 2014 as part of its bid to increase its market share in the country to 10 percent by 2016. Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn resurrected the brand to broaden Nissan's appeal to consumers in India, Russia and Indonesia. Nissan plans to use Datsun to chip away the market shares of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai in India.
Nissan will initially sell Datsun-brand vehicles at existing Indian dealerships, according to Kenichiro Yomura, head of the carmaker’s Indian unit. He remarked that Nissan is expanding its sales network in India from the current 95 outlets to 145 in 2016. Yomura noted that while Hyundai and Suzuki are strong in India, no carmaker can "dominate the market indefinitely."
Ammar Master, an analyst at LMC Automotive, quipped that Datsun is not a cheaper version of Nissan, but is a real car built specifically for customers in India. He remarked that it will take some time for Datsun to build up its brand name.
According to Yomura, Nissan is planning to almost triple sales in India to 100,000 vehicles in the current fiscal year ending March 2014, outpacing the industry-wide growth of up to 7 percent expected by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Nissan could achieve its target market share by increasing sales in smaller models. According to the association, compacts and minicars accounted for around 75 percent of passenger-car sales in India in the year ended March 31, 2013. The association disclosed that Maruti and Hyundai hold a 45-percent and 20-percent share of the Indian car market respectively.