Nissan Seeks to Triple Datsun Sales by Entering New Markets

  • Japan’s second-largest maker to enter Pakistan, Algeria
  • Pakistan venture to start Datsun sales by end of fiscal 2019
Datsun rolled out 100,000th vehicle in India on Nov. 20, 2017. Source: Nissan Motor

Nissan Motor Co. is looking to triple sales of its low-cost Datsun vehicles by 2022 as the Japanese carmaker seeks to revive an 87-year-old brand it resurrected about five years ago.

Growth will mainly come from markets in Africa, Middle East and South Asia, Peyman Kargar, senior vice president at Nissan, said in an interview in Karachi on Wednesday. After Pakistan, Datsun will soon enter Algeria, a country that recently curbed imports to encourage local production.

The Yokohama, Japan-based company is betting big on the Datsun brand to challenge rivals such as Suzuki Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Daihatsu, aiming for a third of deliveries in markets where it is introduced. Sales so far have fallen below the company’s expectations, with 150,000 units sold annually in the four main markets -- India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

“We have restarted this brand, new products are coming and we are working on how to really gather all the promises and all ingredients of this brand,’’ Kargar said. He was in Karachi to announce a manufacturing and licensing agreement with Pakistani partner Ghandhara Nissan Ltd.

Datsun Leads Nissan’s Emerging Markets Push With India Hatchback

Known in the 1970s for its sporty, fuel-efficient models in markets such as the U.S., Datsun -- a brand founded in 1931 and killed in 1986 -- was revived once again to widen Nissan’s reach to customers in emerging markets, where car ownership levels are lower than in developed economies. For instance, Datsun’s new redi-Go hatchback, priced in India at about 250,000 rupees ($3,835), competes with Suzuki’s Alto 800 that goes for about $4,085.

In Pakistan, Nissan’s local partner will invest 4.5 billion Pakistani rupees ($39 million) over four years at an existing facility to make Datsun cars. Sales will start in mid-2019, Kargar said. The automaker plans to add new Datsun models in South Africa and expects its market share increase by 2 percentage points to 12 percent next year.

Last week, Nissan announced its plan to sell a million electric vehicles and introduce autonomous cars by 2022 as part of its mid-term strategy.

— With assistance by Jie Ma

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