By on March 20, 2012

When, some seven weeks ago, the Nikkei had the rumor that Nissan would revive its Datsun brand for low cost cars, targeted at emerging markets, official sources at Nissan – not surprisingly – had no comment.

One not so charitable source at Nissan conceded that “this time, the Nikkei is less on crack than sometimes.” Another more diplomatic source said: ”I guess you can expect a press release soon.”

That press release arrived today.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghson was in Indonesia yesterday, and, says the press release:

“While talking to the media, Ghosn announced the return of the Datsun brand, Nissan’s third global brand, alongside Nissan and Infiniti. Datsun will provide sustainable motoring experience to optimistic up-and-coming customers in high-growth markets. Datsun represents 80 years of accumulated Japanese carmaking expertise and is a important part of Nissan’s DNA. Datsun vehicles will start sales in India, Indonesia, and Russia from 2014.”

According to Reuters, “Nissan plans to invest $400 million in Indonesia over the next two years, will double hiring by 2014 and triple its dealerships in Southeast Asia’s largest economy to 90,000.” (The latter will probably see a correction.)

Indonesia, a country of 237 million spread over more than 17,000 islands, is one of the growth markets in South-East Asia. Due to its proximity, this market is in the cross-hairs of Japanese makers. Toyota currently owns 90 percent of the market. Nissan wants to change this.

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30 Comments on “Datsun Returns, Officially...”


  • avatar
    BMWnut

    I have never thought of myself as an optimistic up-and-coming customer, but a sustainable motoring experience sounds like something I could get my teeth into. Where do I sign up?

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Yeah, I think that sentence takes the record for “highest percentage, by volume, of euphemisms.”

      Let’s translate!

      “Datsun will provide” = “We’ll try to sell”
      “sustainable motoring experience” = “cheap cars”
      “to optimistic up-and-coming customers” = “to poor people”
      “in high-growth markets” = “in India and Southeast Asia”

      There, that looks a little more straightforward.

      Why can’t companies ever just come out and say stuff in press releases? They’ve collectively created a parallel language that only superficially resembles the way real people actually talk.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        “Why can’t companies ever just come out and say stuff in press releases? They’ve collectively created a parallel language that only superficially resembles the way real people actually talk.”

        Yeah, I think Orwell had a few things to say about that….

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Because its not politically correct to call your potential customers “poor people”. Or a wise business move. Remember, all car companies sell to fast track, up-and-coming, desirable demographic types. Poor people are what buy clapped out twenty year old cars at sleazy buy-here/pay-here lots. Or whatever passes for those kind of places in other parts of the world.

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Not enough old cars to supply the buy-here/pay-here lots. That is why there is a market for dacia

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        “We sell cheap junk to fleece poor people and enrich our CEO”
        just doesn’t quite have the same ring….

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Because who wants to be called poor and high-growth markets can change and may include Africa or smaller muslim countries in the far east and Eurasia. The language is used to avoid implying something and hurting feelings. There have been countless papers written on why companies use it but largely it has to do with the dramatic increase in scientific knowledge and language. Lawyers had always used it to avoid issues of complication (i.e. by using direct and deliberate language it leaves little grey). Then business picked it up. It even filters into everyday life now and then. Nobody uses it to talk to their mother or their friend but would you address your boss at a fortune 1000 company with this at a sales report meeting? I think not…

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    Dammit…why can’t we get a Datsun Versa in the USA?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    This time, let’s hope they remembered to register the domain name…

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    I assume none of the models will have a US counterpart, but still….it will be nice to snag some cool JDM or asia-DM stuff for Nissans here. Maybe I’ll swap the infiniti badge on my 1996 G20 with a Datsun badge :)

    [I know there’s enough new old stock and reproduction stuff out there to have done this in the past, but the idea just occurred to me :)]

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Renault Nissan already has a dedicated low-cost brand for developing markets in Dacia, so I fail to see why they’re bothering to dust off yet another brand name for the same purpose…

  • avatar
    Garak

    I hope the Datsun brand makes a comeback in Finland, nostalgy might sell quite a few cars. Datsun 100A was really popular here in the 1970s.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      And I’d love to see an equivalent successor of the first-generation Datsun 510 come back to the US. Then we can quit bitching about what BMW’s putting out and just plain forget about them.

  • avatar
    John R

    Six months into 2014 I guarantee we will see shaved Sentra SE-Rs with Datsun badges.

    I want one as a paperweight.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I was hoping to see the return of the original red sun/blue rectangle logo. Always thought that had great presence.

  • avatar
    deanst

    But are they bringing back the slogan “Datsun…….we are driven”? (I know, sounds kind of inane, but was quite catch at the time!)

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Maybe Datsun is a better-known name for Hilux-fighter compact pickups? Will Carlos import them here from low-cost Indonesia to grab the Ranger/S10 market? Is Ghosn expanding Nissan ahead of a breakup with Renault?

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    A cheap brand dedicated to cheap cars is a guaranteed loser. Nobody wants to identify with a bottom-feeder. Everyone wants to identify with the rich or at least middle class.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    The up and coming market of poor people is right here in the USA, as the salaries remain frozen for several years, commodity and food prices are up, bankers bonuses are up and the dollar remains in the toilet.

    I’ll have the 510, please, with air conditioning option.

    Thank you.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    If they can bring back those little trucks sans tin can rust tendency, I’ll take one..

  • avatar
    robc123

    Look at the legacy of the datsun brand on nissan
    maxima was datsun
    z cars were datsun

    they could do a scion thing with the brand. What would be really neat is if they took a bit of styling risk with their new small cars that they want to make.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      This is a surprisingly excellant Idea.. to my knowledge the Datsun name still has a bit of a decent rep in the US (sans rust fiascos), do this, and bring back compact picups, and refrain from allowing models under the Datsun brand to succumb to margin-chasing bloat and Nissan could be onto something here.

  • avatar

    Ha, US automakers drastically cut number of brands and Japanese adding more. History repeat itself twice. Toyota/Lexus/Scion/Subaru/Daihatsu – wow a lot. Nissan/Infinity/Datsun/Renault/Dacia/Lada and those only ones I know about. Poor Honda – only two brands and one is almost dead.


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