It’s thirty years since Nissan gave up being Datsun and embraced the Nissan name for its worldwide offerings. But now it’s back to the future with the Datsun brand being revived for affordable cars in emerging markets.
It seems Nissan don’t want to use the Datsun brand to evoke nostalgia in car buyers in established markets – as Fiat has done with the 500 – but intend the Datsun brand to mark an affordable, green car with a small displacement in markets such as Indonesia, Russia and India.
Nissan is to invest $400 million over the next couple of years in Indonesia to ramp up Datsun operations in South East Asia with many new dealerships planned. The Datsun brand will then be used for cars and trucks from 2014.
It looks like Nissan see emerging markets as a route to sales salvation as they are also close to a deal to increase their stake in AutoVAZ – makers of Lada – where they also see big potential for growth.
It’s highly unlikely the Datsun brand will make it to market outside emerging markets, but with the European car market over capacity with falling sales, a budget offering in Datsun that doesn’t tarnish the core Nissan brand is a sensible and pragmatic route.