Nissan to revive Datsun brand with $3,000 cars

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This badge is coming back. But not to the U.S. Image: dave_7/Flickr/CC BY

The long-belated Datsun brand, the fuel economy champ of the 70s oil crisis, is getting a new lease on life. Nissan is resurrecting the name to supply affordable, bare-bones transportation to consumers in emerging market countries.

Datsun ‘did I read that right?’ price tag

Nissan discontinued the Datsun brand in 1983, enveloping it into the Nissan lineup. The revival of the Datsun brand name is not exactly a new announcement, however. But the price is, according to an Oct. 2 report in the Wall Street Journal.

A posting in Car Deal Expert in March said, “the new generation of Datsun should cost the equivalent of $6,100 when they go on sale in 2014.” But in the interim, apparently, the automaker has found a way to half that cost. It now says the new Datsun will be one of the cheapest new cars available, with a price tag of around $3,000.

The automaker says it will develop six Datsun models that will retail from about $3,000 to about $5,000 when they hit the market in 2014. They will be sold only in emerging markets such  as India, Indonesia and Russia.

At this time, only some small automakers in India and China are making bare-bones small cars in a similar price range.

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Stripping down the costs

But to keep the cost that low, the automaker is stripping it to the bone. There will be no plush interior, fancy electronics or even an automatic transmission. They will also be much louder than most contemporary cars. Moreover, Ghosn told the Wall Street Journal, the parts to make the cars will come almost entirely from the countries in which they are produced to avoid costly import tariffs.

Another huge factor in keeping the cost down comes from not having to conform to the rigid safety standards of the U.S. and some other industrialized nations. For that reason, the next generation Datsun will not be found at Magic Nissan of Everett, WA, or at any other U.S. dealership, for that matter.

Keeping it ‘Modern and fresh’

In spite of being bare-bones, however, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says the new Datsun will still be “modern and fresh.” It will appeal to the emerging nations consumer because, he says, it will make “them feel good and is in their budget.”


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