Facelifted Go+ (pictured) and Go in dealerships this month

Facelifted Go+ (pictured) and Go in dealerships this month

RSM Renault Samsung was the most recent division of the R-N-M Alliance to be looked at as part of just-auto's current and future vehicles reports. This followed an exploration of strategies for Renault, Alpine, Dacia and Lada. Now comes an overview of Datsun, to be followed by features on Venucia, Nissan, Infiniti and Mitsubishi.

Five models, three manufacturing plants

In January, Nissan Motor celebrated 300,000 deliveries of Datsun cars since the brand's revival. This took fewer than four years - the first model of the 21st century was sold in March 2014.

Datsun vehicles are manufactured in three plants. These are located in Russia, India and Indonesia, with assembly at a facility in Pakistan due to be added and the brand now being present in 14 countries. South Africa is the number four market after the three main ones which manufacture the cars.

The Go is the brand's oldest model and as such, it received a mid-life facelift earlier this month. Production of this small hatchback started on Line 2 at the Renault Nissan Alliance plant (RNAIPL) in Oragadam near Chennai in February 2014. Sales in the Indian market followed a month later. There, the Go is a rival for the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R.

This little car was designed with a low price as one of the highest priorities. This can be seen in things such as thin doors, a one-piece rear seat, a single-arm wiper, and an under-dash hand brake.

Nissan also builds the Go and the minivan variant, the Go+, at an expanded Cikampek plant in Indonesia. The Go+, also known as the Go+ Panca, was revealed to the media at the Jakarta motor show in September 2013. Production commenced in April 2014. The standard engine for both models is a 1.2-litre petrol unit. The Go+ went on sale in India in January 2015.

At the inauguration of the new plant, Nissan Motor Indonesia also announced that its participation in the Low Cost Green Car had been authorised by the government. Following the requirements of the initiative, the official name of the Datsun brand is Datsun Nusantara, with Datsun Go+ Panca as the model's official name. The word Panca is derived from global naming of the Go: 'five' in Japanese, with Panca also meaning 'five' in Bahasa Indonesia. The '+' in the name Datsun Go+ is, Nissan says, reflective of the extra space in the third row for either passengers or luggage which allows the 5+2 MPV to accommodate two extra occupants.

The Go+ has the same wheelbase as the Go but as it is a 5+2 seater, it is 21cm longer. It was also facelifted earlier in May.

Successors for the Go and Go+ are scheduled for 2021. The existing Alliance V platform will not be used again; instead the cars' basis will be CMF-A.

The oddly named on-DO was the third model for the revival of Datsun. This 4,337mm long sedan, which looks a lot like the Lada Granta, is a special vehicle for the Russian market. Production at the AvtoVAZ works in Togliatti commenced in July 2014. Like the Granta, which is built in the same production complex, this small sedan is closely related to the first generation Dacia/Renault Logan.

The mi-DO is a five-door hatchback version of the on-DO although being only 3,950mm long it is a B segment model. A facelift should happen in 2019 with the successor for what will by then be a seven-year old car coming in 2022, not too long after the arrival of a new on-DO.

Russia isn't the only market to have specific Datsun models. India is another country where this happens, and the car in question is the redi-GO. This tiny hatchback was released for sale in April 2016. Originally, the only engine was an 800cc petrol unit and the sole transmission a five-speed manual gearbox. The Alliance's 1.0-litre engine became optional from July 2017.

The 3,430mm long redi-Go is closely related to the larger Renault Kwid (3,679mm), and is built on the same line as that small crossover.

Expect a facelift in the final quarter of 2019 and a successor in 2023. That car will most likely be based on an evolution of CMF-A.

Datsun's newest model is the Cross, a 3,995mm long crossover which expands the brand's line-up to five vehicles. Production takes place in Indonesia and there should be additional build at Oragadam in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The Cross was shown to the media in January at a special event in Jakarta, production starting up just a few weeks later. Indonesian market sales commenced in March. Alliance CMF-A is the architecture. This is a low-cost platform for front-wheel drive applications.

A facelift for the Cross seems likely to be announced around the third quarter of 2021, and the second generation model would then be revealed in 2025.

Why not China?

Nissan has taken its time to expand the Datsun range and has also been careful not to push the brand into a large number of markets, at least not yet. China is the obvious missing piece in the puzzle but Venucia is the reason why. That brand, part of a JV with Dongfeng Motor, will be explored in the next article of this series.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

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