Moscow: Datsun Makes a Splash With Its mi-DO Hatchback

What’s new at the 2014 Moscow International Auto Salon.

The last time that the Moscow International Auto Salon (MIAS) was held the Datsun brand was a historical footnote in the annals of the automotive industry. That was 2012 — since then, Nissan revived the Datsun brand and is now selling budget models in Indonesia, India, South Africa and Russia.

Nissan at the MIAS

The Russian market is important to Nissan, which is also heavily invested in AvtoVAZ, the largest car company in Eastern Europe. The Renault-Nissan alliance controls the company and through its Lada brand it has been gaining market share. The just-introduced Datsun brand will further Nissan’s growth across the Russian landmass.

The newly resurrected Datsun brand is on display at the MIAS, which is holding its press day today followed by a business day on Thursday. Beginning on Fri. and running through Sept. 7, 2014, the bi-annual show will be open to the public.

Datsun mi-DO and on-DO Models

Datsun miDOTwo new models are on display, including the on-DO sedan that will begin delivery to customers in early Sept. The second model, a mi-DO hatchback, goes on sale early next Jan.

The model names may seem odd to western ears, but they have special meaning in the east. The word “DO” is Japanese for “moving” and also represents the “way” in doing things. The word “on” is Russian for “he” and “mi” sounds like the English word for “me” or what personalizes the car. So, “he moving” and “me moving” are what Russian consumers understand when hearing the names for the two Datsun models.

MIAS represents the international debut for the Datsun mi-DO, a model that shares the same platform and wheelbase as the Datsun mi-DO, but is shorter overall. Both models sit on a 94.5-inch wheelbase and are 59 inches tall and 66.9 inches wide. The hatchback is 155.5 inches long; the sedan comes in at 170.7 inches long.

Datsun Engine and Transmissions

Datsun mi-DO hatchbackThe two Datsun models are powered by an 87-horsepower, 1.6-liter four cylinder engine and are paired with a standard five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is also available.

Standard equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, heated seats, heated door mirrors, and other amenities. To serve the Russian market, 25 Datsun dealers are in place in key areas across the country. Another 75 Datsun dealers are expected to be up and running within the next two years.

A new vehicle warranty for 3 years or 100,000 kilometers (62,137 miles) is standard for Russian market Datsuns. Nissan has also set up Datsun Finance to provide financing solutions to Russian customers.

Commitment to Russia

Speaking to the press, Vincent Cobee, Global Head of Datsun, underscored his company’s commitment to the new market, by noting that the brand’s highly affordable price has struck a chord with Russian car buyers. That price is 329,000 Russian rubles or roughly US$9,100 or far below the lowest price of any car sold in America. The Renault-Nissan alliance has no plans to sell Datsun in the United States or Canada.

Photos copyright Nissan Motor Corporation.


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Matthew Keegan
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