Datsun is all set to re-enter the market on July 15 and the first cars are expected on the roads next year.
The Datsun finalized for India, which is codenamed the K2, would be based on the Nissan Micra platform. This includes the sharing of its 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, albeit in a different state of tune (possibly to squeeze out a higher fuel economy).
Datsun wants to ensure that the K2 is as spacious as it can get. To give you an example, the wheels of the car are pushed outward to their maximum extent, thereby liberating a few millimeters of shoulder room as the door structures can be pushed outward too.
Zigwheels reports that the K2 is likely to sport a bench like seat up front, capable of seating 3 people. The K2 would either feature a single bench (as seen on the yesteryear HM Ambassador) or there would be no pause between the driver and passenger seats (something like the Nissan Dayz which was launched in Japan).
Maybe Datsun is marketing them as emergency seats in case you've an additional person on a trip, for a relatively short distance. We've seen the same strategy on the Mahindra Quanto though it is absolutely unsafe.
One of our sources had told us that Nissan intends to file a patent for a 'new sort of front seats with a dash-mounted gearlever'.
If this turns out to be true, we think Nissan (Datsun) could have a valid point here. As the brand is looking forward to markets like Indonesia and Russia which bear similarity to the Indian market when it comes to car occupancy, Datsun could be starting a trend that was lost long ago.
Changing the perception people have for a bench seat at the front will prove to be a bit of a challenge and the question of safety for the middle occupant would also have to be addressed.