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.