Datsun makes comeback but not in the UK?
Nissan is resurrecting its previous brand name, to use on a budget sub brand.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and sister brand Renault, announced the return of Datsun during a speech in Indonesia on Monday. The country, along with Russia and India, will see the launch of Datsun-badged cars in 2014.
The Datsun brand was officially dropped in 1981 and replaced by Nissan – before that the cars were familiar across Europe, including in the UK.
Nissan personnel have referred to Datsun as the company’s third global brand after Nissan itself and Infiniti, but observers believe the chances of UK motorists being able to buy Datsuns are slim.
Launching a budget model range onto the UK market would pitch Nissan into direct competition with its sister brand Renault, which will start selling Dacia budget cars in its showrooms later this year.
The main advantage of launching the Datsun budget brand is seen as being able to compete with manufacturers such as Suzuki in emerging markets, while running no risk of such mass-market vehicles damaging the reputation for quality and reliability of the main Nissan brand.
Japanese business newspaper the Nikkei predicts that Nissan will aim to sell 300,000 Datsuns a year across the globe.
Press conferences planned by Nissan in Tokyo and Mumbai today (Wednesday) are expected to reveal more details of the plans for Datsun.
Words by: Andrew Charman