You could have knocked me down with a feather when I read the admirable Leigh Goessl's article entitled, "Nissan to revive the Datsun with a sticker price of $3,000" right here on Digital Journal tonight. I had to check my calendar to make sure it was early October and not 1st April.
Surely Nissan weren't getting into a fankle with names again? But, it would seem, they are. I have to say I am more than a little put out that the guys (and gals) over in Yokohama seem to have totally disregarded the advice which I had set out in some detail in a blogpost which appeared elsewhere earlier this year. At the time Nissan had me thinking they had taken the Avro Vulcan bomber a step further when they announced that their 'Deltawing' would be putting in an appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
In case Nissan may have overlooked my earlier blogpost it's reproduced in full below:
Nissan revealed their long awaited new racing car this week. It’s been referred to as ‘ground-breaking’ and nicknamed ‘the Batmobile’.
In June this year, it’ll be piloted by British driver Marino Franchitti (Dario Franchitti’s wee brother) assisted by Michael Krumm from Germany. The new car will be participating in the Le Mans 24 Hours race in June as an experimental vehicle and if it should happen to win the race, then it won’t count.
Apparently, Nissan’s new racer’s got half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional car and only half its weight. There’s a whole screed of other stuff about why it’s so technically brilliant but what immediately struck me was that, true to form, Nissan’s marketing department had goofed again in calling it ‘the Deltawing’.
Naming cars has always seemed to me something of an afterthought at Nissan. The name ‘Datsun’ was clearly never going to have quite the same ring to it as ‘Toyota’ or even ‘Mitsubishi’. The first sounded suitably mysterious and Samurai-ish and the latter alliterated well with Sushi.
Nissan cottoned on to this flaw in the early 1980s when, much like Marathon bars became Snickers (Mars must’ve consulted Nissan marketing on that one), Datsuns vanished from the Observer’s Book of Automobiles. All production, henceforth, was named Nissan. This first raised my suspicions that all might not be tickety-boo at Nissan’s marketing department. Of all the names they could have run with for the newly consolidated automobile giant, you would never have guessed that they’d stick with a name that in the UK at least, was evocative of little tin huts.
Undeterred, Nissan subsequently came up with the ‘Cherry’. I’d speculate that this had its origins when one of the Nissan marketing bods vaguely recalled that Americans would sometimes refer to their car as ‘a lemon’. Nissan would then thumb through their Observer’s Book of Fruits and pick a different name.
The classic was perhaps the Nissan Cedric. It’s difficult to imagine the brainstorming that went into this one at Nissan’s marketing department but ultimately, someone must have said (in Japanese), ‘Yes, that’s it, the Nissan Cedric – that’ll have them flying out of the showrooms.’
Nissan had second thoughts when the successor to the Cedric, the Fuga emerged in 2004. The fugue-ish overtones might have been music to the ears of some, but, thankfully, someone at Nissan spotted the flaw in the name for the European and North American markets where this Fuga of a car emerged from the chrysalis as the Nissan Infiniti.
And so to the Deltawing. It immediately struck me when I saw the new Nissan that something was lacking – it isn’t a Deltawing at all. An Avro Vulcan, for example, now that’s a deltawing, and for French readers amongst you, so too is the Dassault Mirage IV.
Unless the Nissan Deltawing has some, as yet unrevealed, retractable bits stuck in about its midriff, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s yet another ‘fail’ in the Nissan naming department.
Come to think of it, I’ve just thought up a cracker of a name for the next jalopy out of Nissan’s stable – the Nissan Misnomer.
So, maybe this time, Nissan will take the 'Datsun' back to the Scrabble board, then again, maybe India is clamouring for a Datsun comeback...hmm.. not a bad name - a Datsun Comeback 4x4.
I'll maybe have one of those - though I do have a soft spot for the Qashqai but then again, I also like a Kumquat.