New Delhi: Datsun of Japan, which is yet to see a revival after being reintroduced in the Indian market after a gap of 30 years, has taken on market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd in a new television commercial as it struggles to create a space for itself in the entry-level segment.
Seven out of 10 cars sold in the country are so-called entry level small hatchbacks and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, which owns the Datsun brand, took a shot at this segment by introducing the Datsun Go in March.
The company was, however, able to sell just 7,484 units till August and Nissan’s chairman for India, Africa and West Asia, Takashi Hata admitted in an interview on 30 september that Datsun Go was “just a start”, and he is “patient” about it.
The commercial shows actor Ayushman Khurana driving a Datsun Go, which goes past a set of Maruti’s small cars such as Alto and Wagon R. Actor Alok Nath, who owns Maruti cars, is impressed by the Datsun Go and the advertisement goes on to say that it’s time for a new tradition. Nath is known for his roles in TV soaps that promote traditional and parochial values.
Nissan denied targeting any rivals in its new TV commercial. “We are not taking on any of our rivals,” said Ajay Raghuvanshi, Vice-President, business management, who is also responsible for supporting pricing, marketing, sales and operations.
The advertisement claims that Datsun is more spacious and gives more mileage and that it is setting up a new tradition. Curiously, the ad created by Nissan’s creative agency TBWA has pitched Datsun Go against the previous generation models of Alto and Wagon R.
Maruti launched the second-generation Alto in 2012 and the fourth-generation Wagon R in 2010. Maruti officials did not immediately comment on the development.
“Our television commercial is about traditional versus modern design,” Raghuvanshi said. “I am not looking at any of the brand from that perspective.”
The sales of Datsun Go have shown improvement in September over August, he says, and the company thought the timing for such an advertisement is apt during the festive season when consumers take decisions on various purchases.
Nissan is targeting a 10% market share in India by 2016 and has given a key role for Datsun in this journey. The Indian market is expected to grow to five million passenger cars by then.
Nissan will introduce two more models, another small car and a multi-utility vehicle, on the Go platform, Raghuvanshi said.