The revamped Datsun Go will get improved safety and refinement. Picture: SUPPLIED
The revamped Datsun Go will get improved safety and refinement. Picture: SUPPLIED

Datsun is due to launch a revamped Go hatchback in SA in November, featuring a facelift and, more importantly, improved safety.

We’re told that all versions of the refreshed Go will for the first time come standard with dual front airbags and ABS brakes. Until now only a driver’s airbag has been available in the range, but no antilock braking.

It will mark a welcome shift for Nissan’s budget brand that, in the pursuit of offering budget price tags at the bottom end of the market, has been characterised by dismal safety.

The Go was launched in SA in 2014 at a starting price of R89,500, but received zero stars in a crash test conducted by Global NCAP’s Indian division. A driver’s airbag was later added, but this only raised the car’s rating to one star, out of a possible five in a follow-up crash test as its bodyshell was rated as unstable.

Despite this the car’s affordability has made it a popular seller amongst cash-strapped South African motorists, and since launch the range has grown to include the larger Go+ and Go+ panelvan.

Datsun marketing director Kabelo Rabotho says the external and internal styling changes will be significant, with redesigned grille, headlights and grille, and new-look bumpers. Inside will be a new instrument panel and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto capability, and voice control.

A suspension revamp and added insulation is expected to improve driving refinement, while the engine is likely to remain the three-cylinder 1.2l unit with outputs of 50kW and 104Nm. The upgrades are likely to raise Datsun Go price tags, which start at R138,900.

Noose Tightens

Germany’s environment ministry will try to overcome resistance from car makers to fitting older diesel cars with expensive new exhaust filtering systems as politicians and car makers scramble to avoid outright bans on vehicles.

German manufacturers and politicians were forced to hash out a compromise deal to cut pollution last week after environmental groups won a key victory in February which allowed cities to ban older diesel cars.

Car makers are scrambling to avert bans while seeking to avoid costly re-engineering of old diesel cars as a way to cut nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate pollution levels.

Volkswagen said it would back retrofits — as the hardware fixes are known — and offer to shoulder 80% of the costs, but only on the condition that other car makers would do the same.

BMW and Peugeot have said they don’t see them as a viable solution.

Authorities in Berlin are looking at imposing bans on older diesel cars along major routes in the German capital. A ban is also due to take effect in Frankfurt from February. The city of Hamburg has in 2018 voluntarily blocked diesel models that fail to meet the Euro-6 emissions standard from selected roads.

BMW said it did not see hardware retrofits for diesel vehicles as a sensible way for cities to quickly meet EU clean air rules.

The time it takes to get new exhaust filters certified for roadworthiness means retrofits take longer to implement than immediate trade-in incentives which allow clients to buy lower polluting cars, BMW said.

Carlos Tavares, CEO of France’s PSA Group, said the retrofit approach "doesn’t work" because car makers would baulk at having to make a financial contribution toward rebuilding older cars.

"Who’s going to pay is not clear. We believe it’s not the car makers’ responsibility because at the time when those cars were sold, they met all legal requirements," Tavares said.

Jaguar may go fully down the electrification rabbit hole. Picture: SUPPLIED
Jaguar may go fully down the electrification rabbit hole. Picture: SUPPLIED

Jag all electric

Jaguar is considering becoming an all-electric premium car brand to rival Tesla, it is rumoured.

The British car maker promised in 2017 that starting in 2020 all newly launched Jaguar and Land Rover models would have an electrified variant. However, insiders say Jaguar is now considering changing its entire model range to fully electric within the next five to seven years, following in the footsteps of the new Jaguar I-Pace which was launched in 2018 to compete against the Tesla Model X.

The plan could kick off with the XJ luxury sedan which is due for an update in the next couple of years, and the car would compete against theTesla Model S and upcoming EQS from Mercedes-Benz.

This would be followed by the smaller XE and XF sedans, as well as the F-Pace SUV, while the E-Pace would be replaced by a redesigned I-Pace. Even the sporty F-Type, with a lot of its appeal based on the charismatic sounds of its petrol engines, will be in line for electrification.

The bold plan is said to be in reaction to Jaguar’s relatively lacklustre sales, and the brand wishing to capitalise on the growing demand for electric cars.