Datsun on-DO-05

Datsun has entered the Russian market with the Datsun on-Do sedan. Datsun, one of the oldest names in motoring, arrives in Russia exactly 100 years after the first DAT car was created in Japan. With this, Nissan has all its three brands – Nissan, Infiniti and the reborn Datsun – in the big market, the company’s fifth largest.

The budget family sedan’s name reflects its multicultural influences. “DO” is a word deeply embedded in the Japanese psyche, meaning “way,” and reflects a consistent and distinctive way of doing things. It can also mean “moving,” so the Datsun “on-DO” moniker’s overall meaning refers to the brand intention of providing mobility for all in an innovative way.

“On,” meanwhile, is the Russian word for “he,” underlining the car’s strength, performance and masculinity. And both words also have clear meanings in English suggesting a positive dynamism.

Datsun on-DO-10

Styling was completed in Japan, but development and engineering was carried out in Russia by an international team of engineers at AvtoVAZ, Russia’s largest carmaker and the company behind Lada. AvtoVAZ was bought over by the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2012. The car will be built at AvtoVAZ’s Togliatti plant.

Based on a Lada platform, the Datsun on-Do is 4,337 mm long and 1,700 mm wide (73 mm shorter than a Vios, same width), and it has a large boot capacity of 530 litres. Adapted to Russia’s driving and climatic conditions, the three-box sedan is powered by a 87 hp 1.6 litre petrol engine.

It’s basic all right, but the on-DO wiil be priced below 400 000 Roubles. That’s equivalent to RM36,206, so you can think of this Datsun as Russia’s Proton Saga.

Nissan has big plans for Datsun in Russia. “In the next three years, we are aiming to triple our sales here – with the goal of doubling market share. And we expect the Datsun brand to contribute as much as one third of total sales,” said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan president and CEO.

“By drawing on our company’s 80 years of manufacturing and technical expertise – and by leveraging the engineering skills, market knowledge, and production capabilities of our Alliance partner, AvtoVAZ – we will deliver a Datsun line-up for the 21st century. And these cars will be fully in touch with the needs and preferences of Russian drivers,” Ghosn added.

Sales are due to start in the summer of 2014 and the on-DO will initially be sold through a network of 25 Datsun-branded dealerships supported by Nissan dealer investors. Located in key regions, they will be joined by further 75 outlets over the next two years.

Besides the on-DO, we’ve seen three Datsuns so far – the GO hatchback, GO+ MPV and the redi-GO mini-SUV concept car from Delhi 2014.