Nissan: Datsun GO: Under the Hood

ATSUGI, Japan – Datsun unveiled its very first model, the Datsun GO, during the brand’s world premiere in India. The inaugural model will be launched in 2014 in India, with models planned for manufacture in Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

Koichiro Okamoto, Datsun Chief Product Specialist

Datsun is a global brand with local products. This means that there are items that we promise to customers globally, but we will provide the most suitable solution to each country and targeted customers. We met many customers in each region and studied what they really want, to provide them the best solutions. We call our target customers the “Risers.”

There are several common characteristics among them. One is that they are very optimistic about their future. Their next dream is to own a car and try new things with their car. However, their lifestyle, family structures, road and parking conditions are different.

We value the common characteristics but at the same time, as I mentioned earlier, also would like to provide the best solution for customers in each country. This is exactly what I mean about local products.

This car was developed based on our desire to make the best family car. We met a lot of people from the countries where we are going to introduce the car and learned a lot from them. Throughout our field research, we heard many voices from customers saying that they wish to transport their family in comfort and safety. As product planners, we would like to meet their needs with the best solution.

This first Datsun car, which we believe is the best family car, is made in response to their needs. This car was made based on thorough research into how this car will be used in real life.

There are three major characteristics.

The first is good fuel efficiency. Fuel consumption is a big concern as the price of gasoline is high and air conditioners are heavily used. As engineers, we would like to provide the best fuel-efficient performance as possible.

At the same time, traffic is very heavy in these markets, so we would like to provide good acceleration to enable drivers to repeatedly stop and go with ease. It must be difficult for engineering to achieve both good fuel efficiency and good acceleration because they contradict each other. But the project team, especially engineering, made an effort to provide the best solution to achieve this.

The last characteristic is going back to family. This is a car for the family, and we would like to provide enough roominess for a family of five or six to travel comfortably with children or parents.

Koji Nagano, Datsun Executive Design Director

The Datsun brand we are launching had been around earlier for a long time.

As a starting point, we decided that each member of the team should understand what the brand was and had meant before. The next point was to understand the expectations of customers today with regards to this new Datsun in each of its countries. So, it’s a combination of these two criteria.

We then came up with keywords that defined what we’re aiming for, and began designing the car using them as inspiration.

For example, in terms of the styling, it needed to be clear and robust. It was also very important to aim straight at the trends of the time and not attempt to pull any tricks. We tried to install these values in the car, from understanding the expectations of our customers.

Our Datsun may be the first car that many of our clients are buying. It needs to have car-like qualities, as well as be very quick and sporty. The basic essence of what people want in a car, such as being solid and modern, is also important and we have made efforts to include them in the design.

For any brand or car, there is always a certain level of constraint, and the challenge is to think about how you prioritize them in the design. This is true for any car, not only Datsun. However, what was different and challenging about the Datsun was how we balance these priorities with what customers expect from us. I think our customers are very sensitive about the decision to buy a car, and that choice is probably one of their biggest decisions.

In the end, we did all we could, and now I’d like to wait and see how our customers respond.

Among our design team, we always think about the ‘design aspect’. It is important to us that people recognize a Datsun simply with a glance at the car, even from far off. For example, the front grille design, the side view windows and the shape of the rear are very characteristic.

With these three aspects – front, rear and side – we created a signature for this car. It’s especially important to think about this before the car is actually launched, and these features will be consistent and inherited by future Datsun cars.