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Datsun coming back to South Africa: Des Fenner – spokesperson, Nissan South Africa

‘We are positioning this…offering at below the R100 000 mark.’

HILTON TARRANT: Nissan South Africa today announced that it will bring the Datsun brand back to the country. The first model to be introduced in South Africa will be a new passenger vehicle that will be launched by the end of 2014 with the promise of attracting young and aspiring customers.
    Earlier I spoke to Des Fenner, who is the spokesperson for Datsun South Africa, and I asked him why the company decided to bring the brand back now.

DES FENNER: I think Datsun, with the two other brands, Nissan and Infiniti, allows us the opportunity to focus on this aspiring market, the youth, the Y generation, where we get the opportunity to provide transportation and modern styling in an affordable motor vehicle for the younger target market in that area.

GUGULETHU MFUPHI: With the new production of these vehicles, will they be manufactured in South Africa or will you be importing the parts to be assembled here?

DES FENNER: No, the cars will be fully imported when we introduce them at the end of 2014.

GUGULETHU MFUPHI: Let’s touch on the new market that you are hoping to target. It’s the younger generation, a younger group, as you mentioned, of aspiring customers. Do you believe there is still space for a new vehicle provider in the South African industry because there is fairly stiff competition?

DES FENNER: I think there is. But we are positioning this core passenger motor vehicle offering at below the R100 000 mark. So bringing in a fresh new product, an all-new product into that arena, aiming at not just the purchase price of the vehicle, but the total ownership costs, making it really affordable for that aspiring new market. We call the new market “risers”. I think it’s important to understand that everybody’s looking to get into a motor vehicle and we will provide that opportunity with the new product.

GUGULETHU MFUPHI: I also understand that you recently re-launched the Datsun brand in India, Indonesia and Russia. What has the response been like there?

DES FENNER: Well, it hasn’t been introduced there yet. It’s an interesting point that you raise. In 2014 the first market it will be introduced in is India, followed by Russia, then in Indonesia and then South Africa. So it’s amazing that we are able to bring a world concept in terms of Datsun, the brand, back into different continents all in the same year. And it’s kind of unusual in different markets to be able to bring the vehicle, especially in South Africa, to market as soon as it’s launched into other international markets.

GUGULETHU MFUPHI: Would you say that you are targeting emerging markets with this new strategy?

DES FENNER: Yes, I think Datsun is all about growth. The countries I’ve just mentioned are certainly growth markets and it’s part of the Nissan global growth plan by 2016 to have increased our volume. And identifying the growth markets and introducing the Datsun brand in the market certainly does get us there.

GUGULETHU MFUPHI: Our thanks to Des Fenner.

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