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.