Koji Nagano says the keywords for the Datsun Go's design philosophy are 'strong' and 'modern'.
At the global premiere of the Datsun Go, autojunction.in caught up with Koji Nagano, Executive Design Director, Global Design Strategy Department, Nissan / Datsun. Nagano was tasked with leading the design team on the new Datsun project. He shared with us the principles that enshrined Datsun’s new design philosophy, and also the thinking that went into making this car. Nagano is a graduate of the Kyushu Institute of Design, having joined Nissan in 1980. Edited excerpts from a conversation:
AJ: With the Micra, Nissan employed a ‘designed by committee’ approach, gathering feedback from customers, which ultimately shaped the final design of the car. Can you tell us whether a similar thought process was used for the Datsun Go as well?
KN: With Datsun, firstly we designed this car in Japan and India. The development was done entirely in India. For Micra, it is a global product, we sell it in more than 100 countries. So it has to be a design which appeals to many people. I know in India Micra has not sold strongly, but it is globally a very successful car for Nissan. Nissan always listens to its customers, and we try to give the best product. With Datsun, we got feedback from many car buyers. This is going to be their first car, but it has to look good.
AJ: Can you tell us what preferences Indian customers have which are different from other markets?
KN: For Indian car buyers, roominess is very important. Roominess of the interiors is what all our customers want, even from a small car. A small car in India is a family car, and we (Nissan / Datsun) recognise that. They also want sporty looks. The car should look sporty and muscular. We know Micra looks soft, but if you look at Datsun Go, it is designed not to look soft.
AJ: Datsun will also be a global brand. Will the ‘face’ of the Datsun Go be seen on other products also?
KN: Yes, Go previews the design language of the Datsun brand. But it is not correct to say other Datsun products will also look like Go. The keywords for Datsun are ‘strong’ and ‘modern’. All Datsun products will be styled using this philosophy. We want to create an iconic and memorable face while maintaining the consistency of Datsun brand.
AJ: Can you clarify whether the new Datsun Go is based on the present Nissan ‘V-platform’, or the earlier ‘B-platform’?
KN: The Datsun Go is based on modified version of B-platform. Some things are changed and some things are different for Indian market because of Indian roads, but basically we use the B-platform to make this car.
AJ: A number of your competitors resort to a ‘tall-boy’ stance to give a car more sense of space. Since you mentioned roominess as one of the key considerations with Datsun Go, did you consider a ‘tall-boy’ design for the car?
KN: Personally, I like nice proportions. I do not like to make it tall. Some cars from some of our competitors looks very tall, and some customers like that. But is that really usable space? I don’t know (smiles).
AJ: The Datsun Go has been designed with a bench-type front seat. Can you clarify whether there will be three seatbelts in front, or just two? What about safety aspect for the Datsun Go?
KN: There are only two front seatbelts in Datsun Go. Only two people can sit in front. The bench-seat adds to the roominess and usability of Datsun Go.
AJ: The Datsun Go is intended for first-time car buyers. How different is this customer demographic from what you see in other, more evolved car markets?
KN: For me, I can understand this customer. I get the same feeling like when I was a young boy in Japan, maybe six or seven years old. That time we did not have a car. Now in Japan everybody has a car. I am now 56 years old. But I can understand what the customer is thinking, how he is feeling.
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