We have been keeping one eye on the Nissan/Renault plans for low cost cars for a while. All indications have been that the alliance is working on a car that could sell in the neighborhood of $5,000 and still make a profit. The secret of doing this is spreading the development effort over as many units as possible.
Today, The Nikkei [sub] writes that Nissan will resurrect its Datsun brand in order to sell low-priced cars in emerging markets. According what the Nikkei “learned” without naming sources, the cars will initially be built and sold in India, Indonesia and Russia. Allegedly, Nissan hopes to “achieve annual sales of 300,000 Datsuns a year soon.”
According to the Nikkei story, the cars will be built on Nissan’s low-cost V-platform, with 90 percent or more local content. “In India, a vehicle with an engine displacement slightly above 1 liter is expected to sell for around 300,000 rupees ($6000,)” The Nikkei says. According to the Tokyo business paper,
“The vehicles will meet safety standards but shed inessential features, such as cabin noise reduction. They will use inexpensive parts and materials, and their warranty periods will be shorter than those of Nissans and Infinitis. The automaker also plans to set up Datsun dealerships with relatively low operating costs.”
It is 3:45 am in Tokyo, obviously no time to get confirmation on this.