Datsun redi-GO has been unveiled, and will be the latest entrant to the now crowded entry level car segment in India. The car will launch in June with the familiar 53 bhp, 799cc engine (that also powers the redi-GO's cousin - the Renault Kwid) mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. But within months of the launch, Datsun will offer the redi-GO with an AMT (automated manual transmission) option as well.
This will be another carry-over from the Kwid, which will get its Easy-R AMT variant before the festive season. The relationship between the alliance-partners entails that the Kwid gets its own free-run on the AMT USP before Datsun can also offer it. So expect the redi-GO AMT to only arrive in the last quarter of this fiscal. Renault-Nissan will look to offer class leading mileage figures with the AMT variant. Currently the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 offers the AMT as well, but it is not an option on the entry level Alto 800.
The benchmark for the space has already moved up thanks to the Kwid, and this means the buyer in this segment is now looking for even more. More value, more convenience and more flexibility of use. So greater cabin space, safer build quality (and safety features), more connectivity options and good looks are now becoming the norm here. Datsun has failed to really make any waves with it first two cars - GO Hatchback and GO+ MPV, and so the redi-GO has to fire for the company. So besides killer pricing the redi-GO will also offer many variants.
Before the AMT comes in Renault will first introduce the 1 litre engine variant of the Kwid. The car will also sport some more creature comforts to be able to go head-to-head with the Alto K10 and Hyundai Eon. As of now Datsun is not looking to offer the redi-GO with the 1 litre engine, though it may need to consider putting it in the car for export markets. If there is demand for the redi-GO from South Africa, Datsun believes a 1 litre powertrain becomes a must, and it will only export that engine variant for sales in the African region.
Datsun is also likely to export the redi-GO to Indonesia, even though it has a plant there. This is because the cost structures and small volume for hatches in general means, a made-in-India redi-GO for Indonesia would make better financial sense for the company. If export volume on the redi-GO picks up, and there is a greater production of the 1 litre engine variant, it could only then consider launching that as an option in India too. For now Datsun is eyeing the 1 litre engine for its GO-Cross subcompact SUV that will launch in mid-2017.