Nissan continues to move forward with its plans to revive the long-retired Datsun brand. The company says the cars will carry a sticker price of just $3,000 - $5,000 and will be sold in limited markets.
The revelation that the company was bringing back the Datsun, which was discontinued in 1981 and folded into the Nissan brand, was first made last March.
Since that time the carmaker has gone forward with its decision to give the Datsun brand a rebirth and is intentionally marketing the car with a low price as Nissan intends to target emerging markets.
Last spring the company stated it wanted to establish markets in India, Indonesia and Russia where car ownership is just beginning to become widespread, however according to several recent media reports, it looks like India will be the first market to see the Datsun.
Analysts say the investment to re-create Datsun will be a substantial financial investment. External estimates outside of the company place the cost to be about $1 billion.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and other executives, and learned the Datsun's return will consist of a bare-bones model and may be missing features such as automatic transmissions, (scaled back or elimination?) of air bags and exhaust systems will be noisier. Reportedly, the company admits it will be hard to produce a car and sell at the low price that has been set.
The first of the new models are expected to be off the production line and on the market in 2014; it is anticipated to be one of the lowest priced vehicles in the world.
Company executives have said there are no immediate plans to re-introduce the Datsun to the U.S. and other "industrialized" markets, "at least not initially", reported WSJ. These models, at the price set, won't meet regulatory and safety requirements set in these markets.
"If you go to the U.S., it's not going to end up being $3,000," Mr. Ghosn said. Media reports say the CEO described the new Datsun models as "modern and fresh."
"When the Datsun name disappeared, I was very sad—it is good to hear its coming back," 103-year-old Yutaka "Mr. K" Katayama said. He is a former Nissan executive that saw the first line of mass-produced Datsuns hit the market back in 1935 and is inherently connected with the brand's growth.
"But it'll be a shame if they're cheap cars. I had really hoped they'd make a more polished car," he said.
Do you think Nissan will be able to recreate the popularity the Datsun brand once commanded? Or is the brand best left retired after so many years?