ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Nissan starts production of Datsun GO+
Japan’s second-biggest automaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. aims to sell 40,000 affordable eco-friendly cars under its revived Datsun brand, which began to roll off the production line at its new plant in Purwakarta, West Java, on Thursday.
With the Datsun GO+ Panca, a seven-seater multipurpose vehicle (MPV), which will join the government’s low cost green cars (LCGC) incentive program, Nissan aims to reach out to its old Datsun fans as well as a new array of middle class customers in Indonesia, Vincent Cobee, Nissan’s Datsun brand chief said on Thursday.
“Car ownership in Indonesia is currently limited to the happy few. The ambition of Datsun in the LCGC program is to open up car ownership outside of Jakarta, outside of the 5 percent of the population and mobility and the best technology that Nissan can bring to this new class of customers, Cobee said during the car launch.
To help meet the target, Datsun plans to increase distribution outlets from 39 dealers at present to 95 outlets in March, 2015, Cobee said.
The Datsun GO+ will be the first model produced at Nissan’s new plant, which pushes up local production capacity to 250,000 units a year from 100,000 at present. The model, priced between Rp 85 million (US$7,351) and Rp 103 million, will be delivered to customers as soon as June.
The car’s 1,200cc engine gets more than 20 kilometers per liter and is the latest model launched under the LCGC program that are exempt from the luxury-goods tax. Other producers — Toyota, Daihatsu, Honda and Suzuki — have seen their fuel efficient cars hit the road since late last year. Toyota moved even further by exporting its Toyota Agya to the Philippines in February.
Despite being the last LCGC producer to roll out its products to the local market, Nissan was upbeat it could compete with its rivals as it delivered a different model, according to Nissan corporate vice president Toru Hasegawa.
“The car size and the 5+2 package is not available from our competitors. We are a pioneer and provide the best product to the market,” Hasegawa said, adding that Nissan would also introduce another model, the Datsun GO+ hatchback that had sold well in India. All existing LCGC cars have five seats.
Sales of inexpensive cars was expected to help significantly boost Nissan sales in Indonesia to 90,000 vehicles in this current fiscal year, Hasegawa said. That would be a 55 percent rise from the past fiscal year ending in March 31.
Nissan saw its Indonesian sales drop by around 14 percent to 58,066 during the past fiscal year from a year earlier.
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