Decades ago, international budget car brand Datsun was killed off by corporate parent Nissan. Datsun was the name Nissans were sold under internationally. Nissan has just announced that Datsun is back and will be sold in “emerging markets.”
The return of the prodigal eco-box
For decades, Nissan sold cars internationally under the Datsun brand name, as is the wont of many car makers who sell their vehicles internationally. Datsun was a good brand, starting sales in the United States in the 1950s, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Datsuns had many of the traits that Japanese cars are still known for. Datsuns didn’t cost too much, had excellent fuel economy and, with their great reliability, frequently passed muscle cars that were broken down on the side of the road.
A long line of eco-boxes, pickups and some cool sports cars, like the Datsun 240Z, followed. The brand gained in popularity in the 1970s due to the OPEC embargo and subsequent spikes in gas prices until Nissan decided in 1981 to stop selling Nissans as Datsuns. The idea, according to AutoWeek, was to strengthen the Nissan name internationally.
Nissan has announced that the Datsun brand is going to return to production, with the first cars to go on sale by 2014. However, fans of the old Z line of sports cars will still have to buy a Nissan, as the new Datsun is only going to be sold in “emerging markets,” where Nissan wants to improve its sales of economy cars. Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Nissan, announced the revival at a recent press conference.
The goal, according to BusinessWeek, is to boost Nissan’s sales in markets such as Russia, India and Indonesia. Indonesia itself is estimated to be on the cusp of a 500 percent boom in car sales in the next five years alone.
According to AutoWeek, Nissan wants to increase its revenue from “emerging” countries like Russia, India and Brazil, which accounted for 40 percent of its sales volume in 2007. Nissan wants to expand that number to 60 percent by 2016.
Already in the small car business
The new generation of Datsun should cost the equivalent of $6,100 when they go on sale in 2014. The cheapest car Nissan currently sells in India is the Micra, which sells for 421,765 rupees, far more than budget cars like the Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Eon, both of which retail for less than 300,000 rupees (about $6,000), according to Businessweek.
The new Datsuns are going to use Nissan’s V platform and source parts locally, according to AutoWeek.