By on November 21, 2011

We have been following this phenomenon for a while. Joint ventures in China create faux Chinese brands. Because? Because it’s the right thing to do, at least as far as the Chinese government is concerned. Officially, the reason for those fake Chinese brands is to make cars more affordable. Off the record, automakers roll their (slanted and round) eyes at this reasoning. A new brand doesn’t miraculously make a car more affordable. In the contrary. To establish a brand costs money. To establish dealer networks costs money. To build new cars costs money, even if they are on passé platforms. But you’ve got to do what China’s bureaucrats think you’ve got to do. Possibly, all these joint venture brands, from GM’s BaoJun on out, will end up in nice statistics that prove that homegrown Chinese brands are selling, and that exports are up.

Why the rant? Nissan and Dongfeng show the first production model of the faux Chinese Venucia brand at the Guangzhou auto show. It is a mid-class sedan, allegedly engineered at Dongfeng Nissan Technical Center,” it is called  D50 and will be introduced to the market in the first half of 2012.

Chinacartimes agrees with Carnewschina and most of China’s plentiful auto press that the car is a repackaged Nissan Tiida (a.k.a. Versa), down to the old 1.6 liter Tiida engine.

When the D50 launches in 2012, the plan is to have 100 exclusive Venucia dealers across China. Died-in-the-wool subscribers to Japanese production methods will shudder at the muda (waste, uselessness) of this operation: 100 new dealers, with only one car to sell. At least, “Venucia dealers plan to share parts of service operations with certified Nissan dealers.”

By 2015, the dealers will have more to do and sell, because “five new models will be launched under the Venucia brand by 2015.” By that time, Venucias will be sold through 250 dealers nationwide. Dongfeng Nissan is targeting annual sales of 300,000 units with these five models.

Back in Chengdu, Pangda’s Chairman Pang Qinghua also thought that these new Chinese brands are “muda,” or whatever the Chinese word for it may be. “Chinese customers expect to pay 20 percent less for Chinese brands. For foreign brands, they often pay above list just to get them early.”

Carnewschina  has pictures of the car taken at the show. Ours is from Nissan.


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5 Comments on “Nissan And Dongfeng Show First Production Venucia Car: What A Muda...”

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    As a rental car in the small size this was probably one of the best ones you can get. Big back seat. Decent ride. OK power as rentals were all 1.8 Liter. Gas thirst – No real issues.

    Versa Sedan’s best Nip/Tuck. I wish they did it while that sedan Versa was still alive as it always looks like the Hatch 5 Door was the plan and they asked the Design Trainee’s to come up with a 4 door later. At least that ugly has been replaced outside of China.

  • avatar

    So thats what happened to the last-gen Versa molds…kinda like being able to buy the last Buick Regal as a new car there still…

  • avatar

    Died-in-the-wool subscribers to Japanese production methods will shudder at the muda (waste, uselessness) of this operation: 100 new dealers, with only one car to sell

    O hai Fiat!

    • 0 avatar

      You beat me to it. Had Fiat made the 500 available through the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer networks (assuming the dealers paid for training, parts and signage) they might have sold their projected 50,000 cars this year.

      To hit that 50K mark, the 100 or so Fiat dealers in the US would have had to have each sold 500 cars a year. That’s about 2 per day that the stores are open. I’m not in the retail car biz so I have no idea if that’s realistic or not, but it seems a bit optimistic for a relaunched brand with a single model in a market that that brand is somewhat damaged.

  • avatar

    Considering the number of cities in China with populations of 3 million+

    The Fiat 500 is an obvious choice here. Also with the way Chinese are chasing every fad (ie, wearing designer glasses with no lenses in them because they think it makes them look cool and smart)

    This car makes 100 times more sense in the Chinese market than in the USA. Also your average Chinese is physically smaller than your average American so more of them will be more comfortable in these smaller cars.

    I really don’t understand why this car isn’t here, it’s ideal for this market.

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