YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Nissan Motor Co.’s reborn Datsun brand is considering additional global markets for its low-cost cars.
The brand relaunched just 18 months ago, entering four countries in 2014 -- India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. It is now studying the possibility of expanding into Southeast Asia, Latin America and more African markets, says Vincent Cobee, global head of Datsun.
While admitting that the brand has encountered competitive headwinds in India, Cobee reports that Datsun’s first full-year results were encouraging.
The venture chalked up about 114,000 sales, opened 420 dealerships and launched three factories in three countries.
“There are other opportunities we are looking at,” Cobee told reporters today at Nissan’s world headquarters here during the Tokyo Motor Show.
Datsun unveiled a concept for its first crossover vehicle at the gathering. The Go-Cross concept is based on the Datsun Go, with raised ground clearance, a bulky front end, large headlights and a large black grille.
Cobee said there is no plan to put the concept into commercial production, but he hinted that India and Indonesia would make likely markets for the crossover.
He also suggested that, if Datsun decides to build and market the vehicle, it might sell for $1,000 to $1,500 more than the Go.
The Go retails for about $8,500 in Indonesia, and for about $6,000 in India, thanks to tax incentives there.
Datsun, a name associated with small sports cars and pickups in the United States in the 1970s, now represents Nissan’s effort to garner a share of what Cobee calls the “rising middle class” in emerging world markets. The brand is targeting families and individuals who, in many cases, are buying their first car after relying on motor scooters or bicycles for transportation.