Nissan made a prudent business decision with the relaunch of its Datsun brand last year. The thinking was that, while any company selling cars in North America, Europe, Japan or Korea would have to fight tooth and nail for every little share of the market, the company that learns not to treat emerging markets as an afterthought could dominate them with very little effort. So, Datsun was relaunched, this time to actively sell to markets in India, Russia, Indonesia and South Africa. Datsun isn’t completely unchallenged in these markets, but the fact that 420 new Datsun dealers have been added to the network since the brand’s relaunch, shows that there was a lot of room for growth.

So, Datsun is jumping on these markets before anybody else gets the idea, and also looking into expanding into more. A wider variety of products will help with this, so a new Datsun GO-Cross concept was just unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. The concept is a crossover based on the existing GO+ hatchback. This is because, at the moment, the closest thing to an appropriate crossover that Renault-Nissan has for these markets is the Dacia Duster, and that just isn’t quite right.

Continue reading to learn more about the Datsun GO-cross Concept.

  • 2015 Datsun GO-cross Concept
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Datsun GO-cross Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Datsun GO-cross Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Datsun GO-cross Concept High Resolution Exterior
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It’s easy to see that the GO-Cross is based on the GO+ in the bodywork. There is some plastic cladding and some additional exterior lighting, but it is very much the same shape. The concept looks good, but it is debatable how much will translate into a production version of the crossover. There are all kinds of extra lights on both the front and back, and all of the lights look to be much higher-end than those found on the GO+.

The concept looks good, but it is debatable how much will translate into a production version of the crossover.

Since things like this could price the crossover out of competition in some markets, it would probably be better to expect the more basic light design found on the GO+, should Datsun ever produce this. The addition of a luggage rack on the concept seems more likely to be realized, at the very least as an option. The wheels are another touch that seems unlikely, but it’s clear that — especially since this concept is debuting in Japan — it has been dressed up a bit to look more exciting. A production GO-Cross would likely look similar overall, but different in the details.

Interior

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Datsun hasn’t published any images of the interior, but this is pretty understandable. The GO+ has a very cheap and utilitarian interior, and we have every reason to expect that a crossover version would as well. This isn’t really a bad thing. The goal was to make a cheap vehicle and Datsun certainly committed to that idea, but it’s not the sort of thing that is going to inspire anyone to rant and rave about the car — especially anyone in the crowd at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The interior of the GO+ is cloth, but it is not without a few creature comforts like air conditioning and power windows. And, for car with a starting price under $6,000 it’s really pretty decent. The GO-Cross might be a little more upmarket, but don’t expect it to compete with a Maybach interior.

Drivetrain

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Datsun hasn’t confirmed that this concept will actually see production, so a lot details like pricing and available drivetrains haven’t been announced. But, we do know some details about the GO+, so we can make a pretty educated guess about at least the base model of a production GO-Cross. The GO+ has only one engine option, a 1.2-liter gasoline engine that produces 67 horsepower. Similarly, there is only one transmission offered, which is a 5-speed manual.

This works to keep the price of the car down, but there is a distinct lack of options for the Datsun. A crossover version would be going up against vehicles like the Mahindra TUV300, which is available only with a diesel, but at least offers the option of an automatic. Then there’s the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, which offers engines powered by gasoline, diesel and CNG, as well as either manual or automatic transmissions. It is on the pricey side, but you do get a lot of choice. Hopefully the crossover will add a diesel option to help it compete with the Jeep clones from Mahindra.

Conclusion

2015 Datsun GO-cross Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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It seems a bit strange to debut a new car in a country where it won’t be sold, even if it is the home of the company itself. In order to stand out at all at the show, the concept seems to have been tarted up to a degree that it won’t actually be in the markets where it’s sold. That’s an especially odd strategy when you consider that the GO+ is already routinely praised by the automotive press in the countries where it’s sold for being an attractive vehicle.

But marketing aside, the GO+ is also praised as being a good value for money, and a crossover version can be expected to be as well. It would have been nice to get a few more details about the vehicle, instead of just a long press release talking how great Datsun is as a brand, but hopefully there will be a follow up concept that’s more productive and comes with details. In all, this seems like another winner for Datsun.

  • Leave it
    • * seriously lacking in drivetrain options
    • * for markets where price is so important, Datsun is being much too vague
    • * overly attractive concept might be setting up customers for disappointment

Press Release

Just a year after its return, the reborn Datsun brand is looking at possible expansion in new high growth markets such as Africa, Middle East, South East Asia and beyond.

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The announcement made during a special event at Nissan Global Headquarters coincided with the first anniversary of the start of sales in South Africa, the fourth of the brand’s initial launch markets. The event also highlighted Datsun’s presentation of the Story of the brand’s return to international media visiting the Tokyo Motor Show.

Nearly three decades after the name was last used, Datsun’s return was announced in 2012 and its first cars went on sale in India in March 2014. Since then, more than 100,000 new Datsuns have been sold in total in India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

"This is a significant day for Datsun," said Vincent Cobee, Global Head of Datsun. "We have successfully completed the first phase of our return, and we feel proud that through our vehicles more than 100,000 customers have been able to make their dream of personal mobility a reality. In fact, the latest figure of cars sold since Datsun GO was launched in India in March 2014 now stands at 114 000 units. Our expansion plans include the continued growth of sales and service networks in our four existing markets, while expanding our offering to three models in India. There, we will launch a totally new model at the beginning of 2016, which will be the first Nissan Motor model based on the new Renault-Nissan Alliance CMF-A architecture. We are also studying further business expansion possibilities in other high-growth markets around the world, including Africa. Whatever happens next, the Datsun core values of `Dream, Access and Trust’ will continue to influence the next phase of our brand’s journey."

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One of the highlights of the event was the global unveil of a new concept car, the company’s second in just 17 months. The Datsun GO-cross Concept showcases the brand’s vision for possible expansion of the Datsun GO/GO+ family in high growth markets.

The concept investigates the market potential of a cross-over with spirit and a sense of adventure. It’s a car that fully handles the day-to-day routine yet still has plenty left for holidays or weekend fun.

Although a pure concept at the moment, the futuristic Datsun GO-cross Concept – if it is brought to market – could be the perfect car to take its owners on their journey through life, allowing them to GO further.

It shares the same platform as Datsun GO+ and borrows key iconic design features from that vehicle. Yet it is a significant evolution, and underlines Datsun’s philosophy of continuously offering something new, exciting and innovative.

To commemorate the 100,000-sales milestone and to express gratitude to Datsun’s valued customers, Datsun launched a special campaign in August 2015. New Datsun customers in all four markets were invited to share the stories of how their lives changed with the arrival of their new Datsun.

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The author of the best story from each market was invited to attend the event in Yokohama, and Datsun is considering publishing a book of these and other stories from those whose dreams have come true thanks to the reborn Datsun brand.

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