By on April 4, 2012

A year ago, Carlos Ghosn announced that Nissan is aiming for 8 percent global market share by 2016. This morning in New York, delivering the keynote address at the New York Auto Show, Ghosn said it again:

 “We can achieve 8 percent global market share by 2016.”

After a pause, he continued: “Whenever I state this 8 percent goal, I get some skeptical looks.”

Whenever he says that, people do get that look. Then they answer, or think: “Nissan? You surely must be talking about Nissan and Renault, right?”

Wrong. He meant Nissan a year ago, and he was talking only about Nissan today. Nissan is well on its way. Currently Nissan is at 4.8 million vehicles worldwide, or 6.4 percent of the total global market. Ghosn plans to sell 200,000 units more in the U.S. alone with 5 new volume models.

Nissan will ”target  millions of people joining the middle classes around the world” by reviving Datsun for low cost cars.

“And before you ask – no, we do not currently plan to bring Datsun back to the U.S.”

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17 Comments on “New York 2012: Mr. Eight Percent...”

  • avatar

    Can we read something into the decision not to bring the Datsun name back to the US? Of course it’s been so long since you could buy a new Datsun here that most of the car buyers they’re targeting aren’t old enough to remember that far back. So the name has no emotional connection to them. That only leaves us old farts, and Datsun I mean Nissan can’t count on us to survive long enough to buy another new car.

    • 0 avatar

      Presumably the US is not a third-world developing country where millions are joining the middle class. Quite to the contrary, actually.

    • 0 avatar

      And I’m old enough to remember when all of their cars said “Datsun” on them, but not old enough to remember why they were called that (too many WWII vets still alive for which the Nissan name did not evoke fond memories).

      I remember being very puzzled when “Nissan” badges started showing up on Datsuns in the early 1980s, and I seem to recall that some cars said both for a year or two.

      • 0 avatar


        Some models in the early 80’s, namely, the then new Sentra and Stanza models and perhaps a few others between 1983-84 time period had both before just going with Nissan IIRC.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not: in 1981, I picked up a book by Marvin J Wolf, called The Japanese Conspiracy and read all about Nissan’s colorful history with the Japanese military and their exploits in Manchuria with slave labor.
        Not that you see that on their website, mind.

  • avatar

    Nissan should bring Datsun to Canada – they would increase their market share by 50% in a year or 2. Canadians love cheap cars – what else could explain the fact that Chrysler has been the #1 seller in some months recently?

    • 0 avatar

      “Canadians love cheap cars – what else could explain the fact that Chrysler has been the #1 seller in some months recently?”

      It’s true that we like cheap cars up here in Canada – the Civic has been at the top of the sales charts for years.

      It’s also true that Chrysler has been #1 in sales in Canada for the first three months of this year.

      But I’m not seeing a whole lot of cheap Chryslers, at least in my area. Purely subjective, but I see lots of new Ram pickups, Minivans, Jeep Grand Cherokees and Wranglers, and 300s.

      I rarely see any Calibers. I don’t think Canadians will buy a substandard car just because it is cheap, and I doubt that a Datsun aimed at emerging markets will sell here. We buy more small cars than the US, but I think our tastes are sort of halfway between US and European tastes – I don’t see much of a market for cheap and nasty here.

      • 0 avatar

        Rams are the cheapest full sized truck by a fair bit, Caravans are the cheapest van period, Wranglers can be had under $20k. Don’t know where 300’s and Grands fit in the market, but most of Chrysler’s volume is in the low $20k bracket, which is on the cheap end of the spectrum.

      • 0 avatar

        @Feds: All the vehicles you mention are pretty decent in their own right, as well as being priced competitively, so they offer good “Bang for the Buck”.

        I don’t see that many Caliber’s around (subjective, I know…), so I don’t believe it sells that well. By all reports, the only thing the Caliber has going for it is price. Even though it is cheap, it is poor value, and appears to sell poorly.

        I doubt a Datsun aimed at emerging markets would be better than a Caliber – in fact I expect it would be worse. And I can’t imagine it selling in significant numbers in a first world country like Canada.

        A couple of days ago, there was a post* here that showed the average transaction prices for all the volume automakers. They ranged from $21,717 (Hyundai / Kia) to $33,289 (GM). Chrysler came in at $29,842 – not at the top, but hardly the cheap end of the spectrum. While a Caravan or Ram Pickup may be the cheapest in it’s class, it’s still not a truly cheap vehicle in an absolute sense.

        The fact that Chrysler ~doesn’t~ have any class competitive small cheap cars makes their recent sales growth all the more impressive – they have to rely on sales for (relatively) expensive big vehicles. If the new Dart turns out to be as good as it looks on paper, I expect that Chrysler’s sales will grow some more – but I wouldn’t be surprised if their average transaction prices come down a bit as a result…

  • avatar

    Seems to be a wise decision. Why bother about bringing Datsun to the US again? Who in the US would want to buy an entry-level, frugal car? Would make no sense.

  • avatar

    I expect Datsun will be good?

    • 0 avatar

      ??? Is that an attempt at humor or irony?
      In the grand scheme of things, only Honda and Toyota have built a ‘Japanese’ reputation: Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi have a spotty reputation at best. Of course, they’ve ridden the ‘glow’ that Toyota and Honda have spent billions creating over the decades.

  • avatar

    It makes sense. In North America, Nissan is the mainstream brand. In third-world markets, those same sorts of price points are aspirational, not entry-level.

    This tells me that Datsun is going to carry some very cheap cars that it would be a bit loathe to sell in the developed world. Datsun’s jobs will be to support the Nissan brand, by providing the developing world with a branding ladder to climb.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. Although it’s hard to imagine something much cheaper than the current Versa…

      • 0 avatar

        “Although it’s hard to imagine something much cheaper than the current Versa…”

        I could see an effort to compete against the likes of Maruti. An entry-level Maruti 800 in India has a retail price of about US$4,000. I don’t much about the car, but my guess is that there is no way that such a vehicle could hope to comply with US or European safety and emissions standards, nor would the performance, packaging and equipment be anything close to what we would want. Probably even a Versa would shine in comparison.

  • avatar

    Why did they change to Nissan? Well, back in the 70’s, only in the USA was the Datsun name used, so Nissan wanted a cohesive brand globally.

    Old hippies still regret the name change and have owned Hondas or Subarus since. But, who really cares anymore?

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