Japanese automaker Nissan on Friday sought to clear the air over speculation that it might soon scrap its low-cost brand - Datsun. The company said it was planning to launch a new model of the car - the Datsun RediGo - next year, had invested heavily towards BS-VI compliance and hence there was no question of scrapping the brand.
The automaker said that production at the Renault Nissan Alliance Plant, where Nissan, Renault and Datsun brands are manufactured, had gone up by 15 per cent and was expected to increase further on the back of increasing export orders.
On Friday, the company announced the export of India made DatsunGO CVT &GO+ CVT to South Africa. Speaking to Business Standard on the sidelines of the event, Biju Balendran, Managing Director & CEO, Renault Nissan Alliance India Pvt. Ltd (RNAIPL) (near Chennai), said that the company had invested a lot on the CVT.
"If we are investing so much, where is the question of withdrawing the brand. It is (scrapping of Datsun) is just speculation," said Balendran. Last month, media reports in Japan had speculated that Nissan may scrap the Datsun brand.
Meanwhile, Nissan said it was looking at exporting around 8,000 units of Datsun branded cars this year and in the next year, it would look at similar numbers from the Oragadam facility near Chennai. A major chunk of exports would comprise the CVT.
Datsun, with over 80 years of legacy, was reborn in India. The brand started selling in India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa starting 2014.
Since its inception in 2010, the Oragadam facility, which manufactures Nisssan, Renault and Datsun cars, has produced nearly 1.9 million units. The number is likely to touch 2 million cars by January, or February, 2020, and 50 per cent of this will be exported.
Meanwhile, Balendran said that at a time when the domestic market was slowing down, the plant could see production going up by 15 per cent year on year, thanks to exports.. Overall production is expected to touch 210,000 units this year from 18200 units.
The exports are dominated by Nissan and also include Datsun. Around 80 per cent of the vehicles produced under these two brands are exported, while only 12 per cent of Renault's production is exported.
Sunny accounts for a major chunk of Nissan's exports. During the beginning of the year, the company had planned to export around 22,000-24,000 units of the model. However going by the current volume, the company will close the year with around 65,000 units of Sunny. The company already has enough orders and is in the final stage of discussions for the same number next year for Sunny alone.
While other brands exported by Nissan include Kicks, Renault exports Kwid. By next month, Renault Triber will be also exported.
"The key reason behind the increase in exports is cost competitiveness and the quality of products manufactured at the Oragadam plant," said Balendran, without sharing details on the price difference.
Apart from catering to neighbouring countries, the facility caters to markets in Middle East, South Africa, Sub-Sahara, Egypt, Indonesia among others. Engines manufactured here are also exported to various plants of the company.