Coming Soon: The Brand New $3,000 Datsun

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
coming soon the brand new 3 000 datsun

Renault-Nissan already has Dacia as its “low-cost” brand, to compete with vehicles in the $10,000 range, the auto maker is moving forward with plans to introduce a new car that costs as little as $3,000.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn plans to launch six Datsun models starting in 2014, with prices ranging between $3,000 and $5,000. While product plans haven’t been revealed, the cars would be extremely basic, though industry watchers have stopped short of declaring that they will emulate the Tata Nano microcar.

For Ghosn, the Datsun project has nothing to do with the revival of the 240Z or the 510. His ambition is to provide mobility to developing world markets, reaching further into the depths of the low-cost market, even when large manufacturers like Volkswagen haven’t even begun to wade into it.

To even have a shot at reaching the $3,000 price point, the Datsuns will have to have nothing in the way of content. The WSJ reports with horror that they won’t come with an automatic transmission or airbags. A recent trip to Guatemala saw basic versions of late model Mitsubishis and Daewoos with lap belts in the rear, which suggests that the bar for decontenting is much lower than the ink-stained wretches of the Financial District can possibly fathom

To try to compete on that level, Nissan has pared back on the latest safety technology and redundant quality checks. “You make a car as simple as you can and you’re going to wind up with an $8,000 car from the costs of safety, powertrain efficiency, fuel efficiency and structural data for the platform,” said François Bancon, 60, Nissan’s general manager of product strategy and a member of the exploratory group. “We had to change the recipe, because the same recipe gives you the same dishes plus or minus some details. The notion of safety? Believe me, they are very flexible about this,” he said.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Oct 03, 2012

    If I am going to put myself in a 3rd world villager's sandals, then I want something like a Jeep Cherokee. Now, how about a beam front axle and solid rear. Mono-transverse leafsprings. a mono-shock if possible? Plug -n-play lights, electronics. make it as simple as possible to field-fix (same size bolts/nuts/screws wherever possible, and............a carburetor!

  • Lilpoindexter Lilpoindexter on Oct 03, 2012


  • Dawn Maple They haven't even fixed the airbag issues and recalls completely, so why waste more time and money on another "safety feature" that removes choices from the driver? We would be safer getting in a car driven by Helen Keller. Oh wait with driver assist, all she has to do is find her car and turn it on.
  • Lorenzo I'm out. I'd never find it in the dark.
  • VoGhost Minivans don't sell well, and the market has been declining. And while the entire 'range anxiety' myth is mostly a big oil propaganda designed to scare the weak minded, minivans are often how families travel to grandma's house, so that will be a concern, unless VW can gain access to the Supercharger network. I could see 50K units at peak, declining to 25K/year after a couple of years, unless VW can price competitively with Tesla.
  • VoGhost Glad you're healthy, Tim
  • VoGhost 20 years ago, Sportage was the bottom of the barrel, a joke. Kia's come a long way.