Just 15 years ago, Renault took struggling Romanian auto producer Dacia and turned it into one of Europe’s most successful stories, creating a truly affordable – but modern and functional – brand.
Since the idea worked even better than expected, Carlos Ghosn decided to do the same for a historical Japanese brand that belongs to Nissan – Datsun. So, in July 2013, the Renault Nissan alliance launched – with the necessary fanfare – the equally affordable Datsun brand in India.
The budget carmaker was taken out of decades-long retirement, with Nissan using it for the first time since 1981, and, although recent interviews with executives’ still paint a rosy picture, data shows otherwise.
Datsun has lost its team on the recovering Indian market, with deliveries dropping for three of the past four months – in July even below the well-known Tata Nano flop. In Indonesia, the sales need to rise even further to meet their full-year target, while Russia – another key market – has been hit by the huge economy turmoil.
The Datsun brand, albeit with models that yield lower profit margins, is an important part of the company’s overall strategy for emerging markets, as the Renault Nissan alliance targeted it towards the countries that showed the biggest growth potential.