Nissan is in the process of resurrecting the long gone Datsun brand to make a headway into the emerging markets.
[Left - The front grille and headlight assembly of the first Datsun leaves clues on the family design; Right - The first Datsun for the Russian market is the reworked Lada Granta]
While the Renault Nissan Technology and Business development Centre India (RNTBCI) is working on three Datsun small cars destined for India and Indonesia (under the codenames K2 and I2), the revived brand's first model in Russia is a family sedan codenamed NKD 2196. The NKD 2196 is a redesigned Lada Granta.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance recently acquired the controlling stake of the Russian automotive firm AvtoVAZ which owns the Lada brand, so that the synergy could work better.
Here are the leaked patent sketches of the proposed Datsun sedan. Compare the sketches with the images Lada Granta and you will immediately notice that the front fascia is different. The Datsun NKD 2196 follows the Lada Granta's lines till the C-pillar after which the rear gets a different identity, thanks to a thicker C-pillar and a new rear fascia. Think of this duo's relationship as the rapport shared between the European Skoda Rapid and its Indian cousin.
The front fascia features the hexagonal grill which could become the family look of Datsun cars. The headlamp shape varies slightly when compared to the Lada Granta and the plastic parts are given a modern treatment.
The Lada Granta sedan is powered by a 1.6 liter petrol engine which is available in two different states of tunes - 87 bhp and 120 bhp. The Datsun version of the sedan would likely adopt the same powerplant.
Mr. Toru Hasegawa, Corporate Vice President - Africa, Middle East and Asia, Nissan told Indian Autos Blog that, "We have to develop some products which can meet the local need 100%. We have the global cars like the Sunny and the Micra, but specifically for those first time car buyers, we decided to give them cars under new brand for Russia, Indonesia and also India, locally manufactured, thinking about local people's needs and locally engineered."
The Datsun car will be priced below the Lada Granta and will have a shorter equipment list.