Prior to joining Datsun India, Jerome Saigot, VP, Datsun India, was spearheading Datsun’s entry into Russian market. In an email interview with DNA Money, Saigot talks on various issues including company’s aim to capture 5% market share in India along with sister concern Nissan, electric vehicles, competition vis-a-vis Renault’s Kwid, localization of product, etc.
Datsun has sold over 90,000 units since its India re-launch in 2014. The company along with brand Nissan wants to capture over 5% market share in the country’s car market in next around 3-4 years. So, what is the combined number you are looking at in order to capture the market share you desire?
Datsun accounts for more than half of the total sales of Nissan Motor in India—and is steadily growing. This was the fastest-growing brand in India in FY16, ahead of many well-established original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that have been active much longer than we have in this market. We expect to continue this momentum in FY17.
We are strongly focused on increasing our reach and strengthening our dealer network, especially in Tier 2 and 3 cities. To that end, Nissan India has 275 touchpoints across India, and we have introduced the 1S Dedicated Datsun outlet concept to further penetrate into Tier 2 & 3 cities (53 exclusive 1S outlets to date).
We do not have a specific volume target to share.
The company is betting big on India and sees the country becoming Datsun’s biggest market in the world in the medium term due to its sheer size. Can you put a number to it and is there a timeline which you can share?
It takes time to create a nationwide network in a new market and for an operation to become established. India is well-known as a highly competitive environment for new entrants. With Datsun, we are focused on providing accessible and high-value-for-money vehicles for our aspirational customers. India already is Datsun’s largest market in the world. Our aim is for the Datsun redi-GO to remain one of the core Datsun models in India, boosting Datsun’s growing brand power, so we can keep reaching new customers.
We see India as an engine of growth in the global automotive market. To that end, Nissan India, which includes both Datsun and Nissan brands, has the intention to target 5% market share by 2020 and launch eight new products by 2021 in order to become a major force in India.
Renault-Nissan alliance sells a pure electric vehicle (EV) in the global market. Any plans to bring EV in India as part of Datsun, the way Tata Motors is toying with the idea of amalgamating EV into low-cost Nano cars or will it be left to your premium car subsidiary of Nissan?
Globally, Nissan is a leader and pioneer in the development and launch of EVs. The Nissan LEAF, the company’s mass-produced EV, is the world’s best-selling all-electric vehicle.
We do not comment on our future product plans.
Datsun is pitching itself as entry-level passenger car (PV). Where does competition stand vis-a-vis Renault’s Kwid brand which is one of the most successful vehicle in the category?
We are pleased with the performance of the redi-GO since its launch in June 2016. It has also played a major role in driving the company’s sales volumes. Datsun redi-GO and Renault Kwid have different positioning and are aimed at different consumer sets.
How much is the level of localisation for Datsun brand in India?
Right from the inception stage, the manufacturing of Datsun cars has involved working with Indian vendors and suppliers. Today, the 98% localisation of the Datsun redi-GO stands as an example of the intensive effort put into work with Indian supplier partners. In this vein, the newly launched redi-GO 1.0L can be described as Indian car with Japanese DNA. It is designed for India, based on an extensive consumer research process. It is aimed at bringing mobility to first-time buyers with its modern design and practical features of high ground clearance, roominess and high eye point. This makes it well positioned to traverse busy Indian roads with one’s family or friends comfortably accommodated in the car.
How do you see the Indian car consumer evolving the next few years?
India is a dynamic market, and customers here expect a good value proposition, stylish design and feature-rich cars. Keeping this in mind, we decided to offer products which could cater to not just the needs but also the desires of first-time car buyers. Datsun redi-GO is our response to this market need. We believe there is growth potential in the Indian market, especially in the hinterland, which we aim to tap by establishing more touchpoints in such places–our products are engineered to also meet the needs of our customers who live beyond the metros. This includes expanding our sales network with Datsun dedicated outlets and rural dealer sales executives (RDSE). Additionally, our tie-up with MyTVS, for example, will allow us to offer peace of mind for our customers when it comes to servicing their cars in places Nissan/Datsun are not represented so far. It is our way of reaching out to new customers.