We already knew that Nissan was planning to break into the Russian market with its revived Datsun brand. Earlier this week, Nissan introduced the Datsun’s first-ever Russian-exclusive model – the Datsun on-Do sedan.
The Datsun on-Do sedan was introduced at a presentation by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in Moscow. Interestingly enough, Russia will be the first-ever market to see all three Nissan brands at once – Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun. Fittingly, Ghosn expects Datsun to contribute to one third of all their sales as the brand strives to triple their Russian market share in just three years.
As for the on-Do itself, it’s not really intended to be anything fancy. It’s a budget-friendly, four-door five-seat sedan “with class-leading trunk capacity of 530L.” But, as you can see, it really doesn’t look bad at all. In fact, if you squint your eyes from certain angles, the mesh hexagonal grille almost makes the car look premium.
Moving beyond the grille, though, the super economic aesthetic becomes a little more noticeable. The sedan’s silhouette is largely generic, and its design reminds us of something akin to a Toyota Echo. He doesn’t have any fancy LEDs, or a sculpted front fascia or anything like that, and the wheels are rather small. Of course, this is all to be expected since the car is will only come in at 400,000 rubles, which is just a hair over $11,000 US.
As for the internal workings of the car, we know that it will feature a 1.6L four-cylinder engine with an underwhelming 87hp. This seems especially low since the engine is likely the same as that seen in the Nissan Versa or Nissan Micra, but tuned down from the other cars’ 109hp. If we had to guess, we’d say that this is probably to enhance the Datsun sedan’s fuel economy, which in turn puts the on-Do into Russia’s bottom tier tax bracket.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the new Datsun sedan is the name… on-Do may sound rather bland on the surface, but delving deeper into the different languages the car represents offers a more intriguing picture. “Do” is an extremely important word to the Japanese, representing a “consistent and distinctive way of doing things.” For Nissan, they want to present Datsun as the right way of doing things. The word “On” also has significance in the Russian language, as it means “he”. The end result is a name that evokes everything the Datsun on-Do stands for – it’s a car with “strength, performance and masculinity,” and it’s totally unprecedented in the Russian market.
As you’ll hear in the presentation video below, Carlos Ghosn offered his own estimates for the on-Do’s sales performance. He expects to hit 100,000 sales within two years after the sedan’s launch in September of this year. This will be accomplished through an initial network of 25 Datsun branded dealerships in key regions, with another 75 dealerships coming over the next two years.
All in all, Nissan is well-positioned to become the dominant Japanese titan in the Russian market, and we have no doubt that the Datsun on-Do will be pivotal in making that possible.