MOSCOW, Russia - Nissan Motor Corp CEO Carlos Ghosn joined Russian media at the debut event for the Datsun on-DO on Friday, saying sales of the brand's models could hit 100,000 in the country within two years.
Russia is the third nation seeing the iconic brand's return, and Ghosn told the Global Media Center that Datsun's high-growth market focus will aid in achieving the mid-term aims of the Nissan POWER 88 plan.
Global Media Center: Russia is the third nation to welcome back the Datsun brand. What are your expectations for new models and market growth in the nation ahead?
CEO Carlos Ghosn: I'm very optimistic for the potential of Datsun in Russia because there is a big emerging population that we call the "Risers" that Datsun is going to address.
We're going to have up to three products launched in Russia, and I would say within two years following the launch of Datsun – sales will start probably in August-September, we should hit 100,000 sales, which is going to help position Nissan as the largest Japanese company contributing to development of the Russian market, so I'm very optimistic about it.
Global Media Center: Datsun production is done locally. How have Renault-Nissan Alliance relations been key to tapping that capacity, and why is Russia a "Win-Win" for all parties?
CEO Carlos Ghosn: AVTOVAZ is part of the Alliance, and we have a strategy with LADA as the main brand in Russia and helping it in its transformation, modernizing its product offerings, being much more competitive, and then having Renault, Nissan, Datsun and Infinti playing their own role in their respective market targets.
So, AVTOVAZ is allowing us to move fast, because it's opening for the Alliance capacities that exist and are not being used today.
The fact that we're using common platforms, between some of the LADA offerings, some of the Renault offerings, some of the Datsun and Nissan offerings, is allowing us to not only go fast, but to limit investments, and to be very competitive because we're using common parts, and the suppliers are happy about it.
The level of localization is going to be very high, thanks to the collaboration with AVTOVAZ, as the automaker has a very large supplier network in Togliatti, and we're working with them. We see a lot of advantage to this cooperation where we're joining forces.
The Alliance is bringing technology, bringing platforms, a lot of best practices, and AVTOVAZ is bringing capacity and a good knowledge of the Russian market.
Global Media Center: The "Riser" segment that Datsun is targeting globally has consumers in India already, with Russia and Indonesia joining the owner ranks soon. How big do you see the brand becoming globally?
CEO Carlos Ghosn: Datsun will support a lot of the Nissan POWER 88 program up to 2016, and then afterwards will be a big part of the pillars of growth of Nissan. What's important is having a brand addressing the Risers, particularly in the high-growth markets.
These markets are going to multiply. It used to be China, Brazil, India and Russia, but now we're adding Indonesia, South Africa, we're going to be adding African countries, a lot of South American countries, so this is going to continue.
I think this is the beginning of Datsun, the beginning to motorizing all of this particular population on the planet, who are considered to be the Risers.
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