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    Nissan Reviving Datsun Brand for 2014


    G. Noble

    Editor/Reporter

    CheersandGears.com

    March 2, 2012

    According to Nikkei, one of Japan’s leading news sources, Nissan could be setting the stage for a revival of the Datsun brand in 2014. The Datsun brand has been in mothballs for about 26 years (since 1986) when Nissan phased the name out in the American market in favor of its own. However, that doesn’t mean you should expect to see Datsun badges on the next Z car, or any other future Nissan for that matter. Nikkei’s report claims that the revived Datsun brand would dirty its hands by building and selling inexpensive cars in emerging markets for Nissan such as India and Indonesia, which probably means you won’t be able to buy one in North America.

    A target price for a brand-new 2014 Datsun is said to be about 500,000 yen ($6,200 dollars) and sales are projected to be about 300,000 cars per year. It all sounds fairly ambitious, but when you consider Nissan’s French benefactor Renault builds and sells the Dacia Logan — which costs about the same and sells about 500,000 cars annually — it suddenly seems pretty realistic.

    A rumored revival of the Datsun nameplate has been around for quite a few years. It wasn’t until CEO Carlos Ghosn recently began pressing Nissan to establish themselves in emerging markets like India, Indonesia, and Brazil those rumors started to make sense. With Datsun a part of the picture, the Nissan brand doesn’t run the risk of associating itself with very cheap entry-level cars like Datsun would build.

    When Nikkei asked for comment, Nissan declined to speak. And while this two-tier strategy isn’t anything new, the revival of the Datsun brand should prove to be interesting.

    Source: Nikkei, The Detroit Bureau

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    I do find this interesting as we already seem to have far to many brands in the world market with some companies struggling to remain profitable.

    This does not mean that they could not become profitable with a select focused market segment for bare essential cars. Yet how will they hold up against other more established players who are in the market?

    Interesting move for Nissan, will be watching this one for sure.

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    Nissan needs to get it's own house in order with regards to small cars first. The Versa is a complete pile and the Sentra is so old as to be nearly irrelevant

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    Another case in point that Carlos Ghosn is not at all an accomplished CEO to the contrary he can rival Roger Smith.

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    If the Versa is a complete pile then how come it outsells every other subcompact car out there?

    http://www.subcompactculture.com/2012/03/february-2012-subcompact-sales.html

    I rented a 2009 Versa a few months ago. My wife hated it. I liked it and thought it had potential, but with automatic I would not want it as a daily driver. It's too spartan, and needs a manual transmisson to keep me interested. On the same page I rented a 2007 Toyota Corolla a few years ago and again I would have to have a standard transmission to actually own one. But on the other hand, the 2007 Chevy Cobalt I rented the same year (and kept for about 2 months as it was a very awesome little car) would be fine with automatic.

    I would love to see plain basic transportation in the US courtesy of Datsun. Feel free to bring back the rear-drive 210, the front-drive 310, the rear-drive midsize 510, and the 200SX coupe and hatchback. Datsun in 1979-1982 was doing it right. Then they swapped out the 210 for the Sentra, the 310 for the Pulsar and promptly dropped the hatchbacks (stupid stupid) and the 510 gave way to the Stanza. Remember those? Neither do most people. The 510 had character. The Stanza had...um...I forget.

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    If the Versa is a complete pile then how come it outsells every other subcompact car out there?

    The Versa is shunned here because you can hear the engine while its running, it doesn't have SatNav and electric bun warmers standard and because the dashboard isn't so soft you can use it for a pillow.

    I like basic transportation, and have only 1 gripe with my GF's Corolla... its too small. I'd love a V8 Caprice with no options beyond a radio, AC and power windows/locks for dirt cheap.

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    The Versa is shunned here because you can hear the engine while its running, it doesn't have SatNav and electric bun warmers standard and because the dashboard isn't so soft you can use it for a pillow.

    That's not the case.

    The Versa is reviled for many reasons. For starters, the engine is fairly crude and not terribly efficient. In fact, it's so awful it probably runs on pure vulgarity instead of gasoline. The interior build quality is fitting of something from a Vietnamese sweatshop and the styling is so outright insulting there should mobs banning together to burn them en masse. Most lawn tractors can out handle it and entire species can evolve in the time it takes to get it up to freeway speed. It's totally disposable and its ultimate fate with a scrapyard crusher is honestly a fate too kind.

    The Versa had some potential, though, that Nissan sadly pissed away. Hop on Google Images and look up the concept car that preceeded it.

    I like the idea of a basic car, don't get me wrong. But just because you build a basic car doesn't mean you have to skimp on fairly essiential things like build quality, styling, and acceptable driving performance. We've seen automakers run with the idea of basic transportation before and the results spoke volumes, so I see little excuse for botching it up in the fashion Nissan has with the Versa.

    Edited by black-knight
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    I like the idea of a basic car, don't get me wrong. But just because you build a basic car doesn't mean you have to skimp on fairly essiential things like build quality, styling, and acceptable driving performance. We've seen automakers run with the idea of basic transportation before and the results spoke volumes, so I see little excuse for botching it up in the fashion Nissan has with the Versa.

    Its the cheapest car sold in the US. For that, you don't get quality, styling or performance... you simply get "new".

    Its a step up from 1986... when $3995 got you a Yugo.

    The Versa's styling looks just as brain damaged as every other Renault-influenced Nissan, such as the Juke or the Moron-o, and it is within 10% of the rest of the hit-with-ugly-bat entry-level craps. Same goes for performance... its within 10% of the competition. As for quality, it seems to have enough quality to avoid being unfavorably compared with the Yugo after 8 years on the market.

    In the end, you aren't walking and you have $2000 in your pocket to easy your pain over its shortcomings.

    Now, I'm not saying the smart money is on the Versa... smart money is on buying a used car. But there are plenty of people who value new over everything else.

    Sure Nissan botched it up. That why its being sold as the cheapest car in the US.

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    Its the cheapest car sold in the US. For that, you don't get quality, styling or performance... you simply get "new".

    That's the standard reponse when someone criticizes something dreadful and cheap like the Versa. Let's dig into this a little bit further then.

    The Versa is the cheapest car in the US by the way of a huge, nicely constructed lie. It only earns that title because Nissan advertises the $10,998 MSRP of the sedan without including destination fees, which when included brings the sticker price up to $11,770. Of course, that price doesn't include tax, title, license, and those stupid dealer documentation fees, which if you buy one in the state I live in jacks the price up by an estimated extra grand. So, that means the cheapest car in America — which is so spartan, it makes solitary confinement look like a stay at the Hilton — actually costs in the ballpark of $12,770 big ones on the road. Uh, yuck.

    It gets worse when you option a base Versa with just an automatic transmission because, let's face, almost no one wants the manual. The Versa's auto-tragic tranny is a $2,130 dollar option. So that jacks the Versa's sticker price up to about $13,900 with destination. Factor in the TTL and doc fees I mentioned earlier as an example and America's so-called "cheapest car ever" will run you $15,000.

    The base Ford Fiesta, which is a much better car, will cost you about $15,000 as a sedan with an automatic transmission. Factor in those TTL and doc fees I had as an example and you're only looking at a difference of $1,200 bucks, which amounts to about a $20 dollar difference on a monthly payment (figured up with a 72 month term at 4 percent interest with nothing down and no trade-in). For only $20 dollars more, why wouldn't someone buy the Fiesta?

    The whole story only gets worse if you want the hatchback. A base Nissan Versa 5-door with nothing on it or in it aside from an automatic gearbox costs a massive $16,460 with destination costs and without TTL and doc fees. Know which car is much cheaper than that with an automatic? Yep, the Ford Fiesta hatchback, which rings up at $15,990. It's also very much worth mentioning the Honda Fit is only $16,745 with the desired slushbox, which is a difference of just $285 dollars. Both the Fiesta and Fit hatches look much better than the Versa hatch, drive much nicer, have better standard levels of equipment, and far better build quality. Remind me why someone would buy the Versa again?

    Its a step up from 1986... when $3995 got you a Yugo.

    That's like saying to someone to be thankful they caught lice instead of crabs.

    The Versa's styling looks just as brain damaged as every other Renault-influenced Nissan, such as the Juke or the Moron-o, and it is within 10% of the rest of the hit-with-ugly-bat entry-level craps. Same goes for performance... its within 10% of the competition. As for quality, it seems to have enough quality to avoid being unfavorably compared with the Yugo after 8 years on the market.

    See above. Also, what doesn't have more quality than a Yugo these days? By modern quality-to-money standards, the Versa is the Yugo for the early 21st century. It really is that bottom rung.

    In the end, you aren't walking and you have $2000 in your pocket to easy your pain over its shortcomings.

    An extra $2,000? How? Where? Why? And by "why" I mean, "Why didn't someone spend that extra $2,000 on the better Fiesta or Fit?"

    I guess if you made the mistake of buying a Versa and had an extra $2,000 grand left over, that would be enough money for you to buy the best assault rifle money could buy so that you could shoot yourself for buying the worst car in America.

    Now, I'm not saying the smart money is on the Versa... smart money is on buying a used car. But there are plenty of people who value new over everything else.

    Sure Nissan botched it up. That why its being sold as the cheapest car in the US.

    See above. If someone wants cheap and new, they should do some research and forget the Versa. The Versa is only the cheapest car on our shores by the way of false advertising.

    I agree, though, that a smart buyer will and should consider a low-mileage, late-model used car.

    Edited by black-knight
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    It gets worse when you option a base Versa with just an automatic transmission because, let's face, almost no one wants the manual. The Versa's auto-tragic tranny is a $2,130 dollar option. So that jacks the Versa's sticker price up to about $13,900 with destination. Factor in the TTL and doc fees I mentioned earlier as an example and America's so-called "cheapest car ever" will run you $15,000.

    This is a falsehood. I know plenty of people who are fine driving a stick, or prefer it... even in econoboxes. AC and CD stereo are standard... and the automatic, according my my source is $1770... granted, pricy.

    And working out the difference to $20 monthy is also bogus... because $20 a month still adds up when you are broke... you just went through that with your car situation, and should understand that problem the most. I don't consider the Fiesta to be particularly attractive... and its a moot point if you don't have that $20.

    Why stop at $20? For $80 more a month, you can get into a completely diferent class of car.

    If Nissan is truly hiding costs in the TTL, dest and doc fees, it sounds like you have your next expose article... but $11.7K has been what I was hearing for the cost of the 2012, not $10,998. Either number is the cheapest car in the US.

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    This is a falsehood. I know plenty of people who are fine driving a stick, or prefer it... even in econoboxes.

    A falsehood? How? Facts are facts and almost no one ("no one" meaning 5 percent of buyers) buys a brand-new car with a manual transmission these days if they have the option of an automatic.

    I know a few folks who are fine driving a stick, sure. For example, both of my parents are more than okay with it, but they've consistently bought cars equipped with automatic gearboxes since, well, forever. The two notiable exceptions are my dad's old S10 (which became my first car) which he bought over a decade ago, and a Nissan Pulsar my mom bought all the way back in the '80s. That's only two cars out of ... let's see ... carry the two ... uh, well, a lot.

    AC and CD stereo are standard... and the automatic, according my my source is $1770... granted, pricy.

    Air-conditioning and a CD player are standard, yes. But the basic Versa sedan gives you those two things by cutting corners elsewhere. For example, the CD player is only hooked up to two speakers that sound like they came out of an old K-mart boombox and the rear brakes are a set of drums that have been pulled from am old farm tractor. The rear seat doesn't fold down in the Versa unless you feel like buying one in top-line trim and Nissan has completely deleted any sort of rear seat ventilation for passengers there when you have to keep the back windows closed. You also don't get coat hooks or rear seat lighting, so forget about easily changing into a suit late at night in the back seat on your multiple-hour drive to your grandma's funeral.

    Now that I'm done ranting about that, I should mention I grabbed the price of the Versa's CVT option pretty much from Nissan's own site. In fact, that's where all of the MSRPs and prices I posted about the Versa came from.

    And working out the difference to $20 monthy is also bogus... because $20 a month still adds up when you are broke... you just went through that with your car situation, and should understand that problem the most. I don't consider the Fiesta to be particularly attractive... and its a moot point if you don't have that $20.

    This counterpoint is bogus, no offense. If someone can't afford about $254 a month for the Fiesta on the terms I mentioned, then they probably can't even afford the $234 for the CVT-equipped Versa sedan either. In fact, I can't think of anything that I've bought or could buy where some twenty dollar difference absolutely broke or could break things off. If a matter of $20 bucks — which won't buy most four member families a nice dinner at a sit-down restaurant any more — is preventing someone from buying a car, they should probably be looking at buying a burro instead.

    The situation I had over my car payments wasn't over a matter of just $20 a month. If it were, I would've had little to worry about. In the end, it was over a figure of about $150 per month. Big, big difference there.

    Why stop at $20? For $80 more a month, you can get into a completely diferent class of car.

    Sure you can, but see above.

    If Nissan is truly hiding costs in the TTL, dest and doc fees, it sounds like you have your next expose article... but $11.7K has been what I was hearing for the cost of the 2012, not $10,998. Either number is the cheapest car in the US.

    Nissan advertises the base Versa 1.6 S at $10,998 on their own website. Besides, becoming fixated on that number completely misses the point.

    Edited by black-knight
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