Datsun brand returns - but not for Oz

Nissan is to revive the Datsun brand as a low-cost value range of cars – but the famous nameplate from the 1970s and 1980s will not be returning to Australia any time soon.

Japanese giant Nissan is using the Datsun name (the original name for the company and phased out in the early 1980s) as its new budget brand for emerging markets, including Russia, India and Indonesia.

The new Datsun cars will sit below the Nissan range of cars and will be low-priced – less than $4,000 in India, for example – but will be modern designs rather than older technology. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has promised Nissan will compete strongly in this new marketplace.

“We’re not coming with antiquated product,” he said. “We’re coming with a modern, strong, attractive product under the brand of Datsun.

“We’re going to be appealing to people who would love to own a car but cannot afford it.”

The new Datsun range of cars will launch in 2014, and work is already underway on designing the new models. Nissan already has sketches, admitted Ghosn: during the relaunch press conference for the Datsun brand, he said: “We’re announcing today in the middle of a work-in-progress.”

However, while there are currently no plans to relaunch the Datsun range of cars in Australia, Ghosn did not completely rule it out.

“If we see a demand, why not? But we are not planning for it. This is for high-growth emerging markets… We should never say never, but it’s not planned.

Alliance partner Renault has enjoyed huge success with its own value brand, Dacia, for several years now. Like Datsun, Dacia was an already-established brand with several decades of history, which the brand took over and used to launch a sub-Renault range of cars.

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