When hearing the word Datsun, I am taken back to my childhood and the memories of classic old vehicles that were supremely popular during my youth. Now, Datsun has made a major comeback, and the image that I see in comparison to what is in my memory is startling, impressive and innovative, to say the least.
Welcomed at BB Hatfield Datsun, a Dealership promoting both the Datsun and Nissan brands in Pretoria, I am eager to get up to speed with the popular new Datsun GO. Dealer Principal Marcel Moolman is a man on a mission, running the dealership with humility and passion that is evident in the quality of service his team provides. With an impressive track record and a client-based philosophy, Marcel believes that selling cars is not about how well you know the car, but rather, how well you know people. Exuding confidence and genuine care for the contentment of his clients, Marcel has infused his team with the same values that he seeks to uphold.
Meeting with Madelein White, team leader for the Datsun brand, I am once again impressed with the length of commitment most of the women in the motoring industry maintain to their brands and dealerships respectively. With sixteen years in the motoring industry (five of which has been dedicated to BB Hatfield) Madelein believes her strength lies in her ability to effectively communicate with clients, understand their needs and use this to assist them to make the best decision possible when buying a car. Never underestimating the importance of the decision to purchase a vehicle, Madelein particularly loves the delight that first-time car buyers exude when coming into the Dealership. In this regard, the Datsun GO is the perfect vehicle for this market.
Chatting to Jacques Steyn, Sales Representative for Datsun, I am told that Datsun’s come back to the South African market for him personally has been a seamless experience; having grown up in a motoring family, and surrounded by Datsun vehicles (as his family owned many of the popular Datsuns in the 70s and 80s), Jacques believes the solid heritage of the brand speaks of reliability, dependability and affordability. Selling between 300 and 600 Datsun vehicles in the last month, Jacques notes that the popularity of the vehicle is indeed linked to its cost-per-kilometre affordability.
The price of the Datsun GO is, without a doubt, the biggest selling point of this vehicle. Starting at R106 900, the Datsun GO has made a name for itself as the ideal first-time-buyer car for this exact reason. Beating its competition hands-down in terms of affordability (a fact I knew ahead of time), I was eager to see if the vehicle lives up to it’s reputation. With charming good looks (and a stand-out, unique Datsun grille), the GO is compact, modern and robust. Quite popular in the powder blue finish, the GO is not unpleasant to look at it with its sculpted front fenders and cheeky headlight design.
The interior is characterised by simplicity; with clean lines, clear and ergonomic dashboard design and minimal clutter, the GO has silver accents to enhance its looks. With soft-touch leather-grain finishing, a lot of effort has gone into making the cockpit look, and feel, classy. Seating is quite comfortable (based on a low-fatigue design). For a compact vehicle, space is adequate, although cramming three adults in the back would not be advisable. Madelein notes that this vehicle is ideal for students, young professionals or even starter-families; the head and leg room is sufficient, and the boot space would serve even pensioners well, with enough loading space for groceries, and medium sized bags or boxes.
“Staying plugged into your digital life” is the slogan for the GO and the nod to modernity is emphasised in the manufacturer’s conscientious inclusion of technology and connectivity into the design. With an on-board docking station for your smartphone and brilliant extra features such as the “follow me home” system that provides lighting for you as you exit the vehicle and walk away, the GO has been designed to make your life easier. Although a touch-screen and Bluetooth connectivity is not included, for this price range (and the features available that still enable to you connect your audio device for music) this is quite sufficient. Boasting intelligent wipers and long-range headlamps, the importance of driver comfort and safety is emphasised in the design of the vehicle. A driver’s airbag is standard, and whilst you may add-on additional airbags, the limit on further safety features is somewhat of a downer in this vehicle. The well-insulated cabin means road noise is minimal though, and for the price-range the GO is marketed at, these standard features are not too bad.
A nippy, energetic drive (which quite impressed me on take-off), the Datsun is exceptionally easy to manoeuvre and delightful to drive. One of the biggest drawcards for this vehicle is it’s remarkably low fuel consumption. Thanks to it’s snappy, eager 1198 cc engine (which produces an adorable 104 Nm torque), the Datsun GO has been noted to achieve 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle, which also means that keeping this vehicle up and running is low-cost too. To add to this, Madelein notes that maintenance and services for the Datsun GO are very affordable and explains why so many Datsun GO vehicles are being sold: extremely popular with university students and first-time buyers, the GO is ranked as the most affordable small car on the market at present.
In a final chat with Jacques, I experience that his philosophy is to keep clients happy. Although this may seem like a cliché, Jacques takes the time to explain to me that there is a marked difference between a customer (who you essentially trade a product with for money) and a client, which he believes is based on a relationship, and involves caring about their well-being and best interest above all.
Now in it’s tenth year of selling Datsun vehicles to the greater Pretoria and Johannesburg areas, BB Hatfield Datsun is the product of a 5 decade legacy (the BB Group Legacy) with an excellent track record and the mission to create long-standing relationships with clients. Not only does this dealership promote New and Used Cars of only the highest quality, but Parts and Servicing is available to all; in-house Financing is also available through the Finance and Insurance Department and Vehicle Accessories can also be arranged.
For more information on what the BB Hatfield Datsun group has to offer, please follow this link: BB Hatfield Datsun
By Desh Bechan