In July last year, as Nissan Motor Co. prepared to bring Datsun out of a decades-long retirement, the company scoffed at the idea that the budget brand would follow Tata Motors Ltd.'s $2,500 Nano and flop.

"This is not a Nano," Trevor Mann, the carmaker's top executive in charge of Datsun, said at the time in India, where the brand would debut months later after an absence that began in 1981.

In a more recent interview, Mann said Datsun's revival is on track and that Nissan retains great expectations for the marque.