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Modernity, Technology and Innovation are the key pillars of Datsun Brand, says Vincent Cobee

Aditya Chatterjee Aditya Chatterjee Wednesday 21 October 2015, 02:23 AM

It has not been too long for the iconic Japanese car maker in India as it is barely two models old. These offerings do fit in the conventional cost conscious kinds but have various innovations under its skin that makes them unique compared to its clichéd rivals. We caught up with Vincent Cobee, global head Datsun to learn more about the brand’s philosophy, strength and passion.

When asked about his reaction to the brand’s innings so far in the country, Cobee acknowledged that the brand has received lot of positive reviews and feedback from its consumers. It has also succeeded in answering the key requirements of the Indian audience. However, the French man also added that the objectives laid ahead are far more broader and wider than the present and the company is steadily working on aspects such as brand recognition, geographical coverage and after sales reach to attain the set targets.

Datsun has always targeted the apirational needs of a growing market and for the same, a constant effort is made to penetrate deeper into the market especially the Tier-II and Tier-III kinds which have proved to be a strong area of sales. Vincent assured that even though it is a challenge to cater to these markets, Datsun will leave no stone unturned. Not just sales, but service network too will expand in these areas. There are compact showrooms which work in tandem with a main showroom based in a proper city to take care of the sales and service needs. Also, the brand will soon have mobile servicing vans that will travel to locations of a limited sized location in order to service their cars in the quickest possible time.

No doubt Datsun cars are spacious and functional but the main concern which still hovers over the brand’s identity is safety which got in news following the NCAP tests. But is it all about giving an airbag as standard that will solve the problem or is there a bigger task at hand for Datsun? Vincent explains that most of the road accidents that happen in India are not mainly due to lack of safety options in the car but due to a combination of poor driving skills, bad maintenance, poor visibility, fatigue and sad road conditions.

He confirms that Datsun cars are capable of avoiding mishaps as they are well engineered with good dynamics, seating comfort, best visibility, best lighting and best braking. Datsun already has a dynamic presence in driving skills improvement and the same will be done in India as well to make sure it creates necessary awareness. He also believes that the onus of road safety also lies on many other reasons such as proper infrastructure, traffic management and pedestrian safety.

The brand with its innovative and young approach adopted a youthful theme of ‘Nayi Parampara’ which was used in its television commercials featuring Ayushmann Khurrana. The concept was not aimed at targeting any particular age bracket or income group, says Vincent, but towards the change from the rich cultural background to a more dynamic and vibrant side of India with great enthusiasm. Both the Go and Go+ are aimed at different lifestyles and even the next offering, the redi-GO will target them with an adventurous lifestyle.

The brand mainly competes against the likes of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, the veterans of the Indian industry. Does that make Datsun a David from the David-Goliath story? We might not have brand recognition and distribution network of these players but then to tackle the same Datsun has a modern line-up of cars which endorse new technology, product innovation and greater comfort, he added.

On Datsun’s plan to improve their existing range of cars, he assured that the brand is always working on the after launch surveys to understand the likes and dislikes of the consumers. He believes that India is a fast evolving market and car players need to tap on the same and regularly update their portfolio to be in league with the new tastes. The need to upgrade the perceived changes in the interiors, efficiency or performance is decided at the different stages of a product life cycle and the Datsun cars will suitably tweaked.

Finally, when asked on what brings him to Datsun, Vincent states that it is not often that one gets a privilege of launching a car brand and it was a challenge that he encouraged him. Secondly, the drive of being a part of a transition economy which sits in between economy of trade offs and economy of choice was fascinating for him. Datsun has already witnessed the same phase in 50s and 60s and thus it has a better understanding of such situation in now emerging countries like India, Indonesia and Africa.

 

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