Datsun brand re-launched for first time buyers

Paula Duffy's picture

Datsun is making a return as a brand name under the Nissan Motor umbrella, for the first time in more than 30 years.

On Tuesday March 20, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced an expansion of its production base and sales presence in Indonesia. Along with it CEO Carlos Ghosn spoke of the return of the Datsun brand, Nissan's third global brand, alongside Nissan and Infiniti.

"Nissan is bringing new jobs and new vehicles to Indonesia," said Ghosn. "We are going to expand our production capability and offer a new and exciting product line here."

Nissan's Indonesian capacity will increase to 250,000 annually by 2014, with the workforce doubling to 3,300, and sales outlets are planned to increase by 300% to 150 by 2015.

More so than the news of the company's commitment to Indonesia it is the return of the brand Datsun that intrigued automotive analysts. The investment in Indonesia is expected to reach $400 million when it is complete.

NBC News reported on Mr. Ghosn's news of the Datsun, “Datsun is part of our company’s heritage and will now become part of our growth.”

It is reported that concern of over-saturation of the Infiniti and Nissan brands will be the result of the rapid growth in emerging markets, including Indonesia and the Japanese automaker has ambitious plans for sales growth as well as market penetration.

Ghosn laid out an aggressive growth strategy which calls for the maker to boost its global market share from 5.8% to 8%, while he also outlined a plan to deliver an 8% annual profit margin.

To address brand dilution concerns the Datsun brand name will be attached to lower end vehicles in India and Russia and Indonesia that are pitched to first-time auto buyers.

Datsun branded cars are expected to make their debut in 2014 and CEO Ghosn explained that he expects the company to use it for “...a green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content….”It’s going to be a generous car.”

The company's press release touted the return of the Datsun name, saying, "Datsun represents 80 years of accumulated Japanese car making expertise and is a important part of Nissan's DNA".

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Datsun name was first introduced in Japan in 1932 and the brand came first came to the United States in 1958. In the next two decades American auto buyers learned to love the small, gasoline stingy cars along with the sporty 280Z.

The name was retired, so to speak, so that Nissan could build its own brand around the corporate name and introduce the Infiniti as its luxury line of vehicles.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Michael 1952

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