Is Datsun Back?
Good things always come in threes. Strawberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla. Larry, Moe, and Curly. Scion, Toyota, and Lexus. Infiniti, Nissan, and, hmm. Hey didn’t they have that little car brand back in the 60s and 70s? Datsun, that’s what you were thinking of. Datsun, Nissan, and Infiniti could be back together again if Nissan’s plans for a relaunch work out.
Oddly enough, “Nissan spent 10 years in the 1980s trying to get rid of Datsun,” said Jay Nagley, managing director at the consultancy Redspy Automotive. Nissan wanted its name to be a household word like Toyota was, but Datsun only got in the way. Nissan finally succeeded, to some degree, when it removed Datsun from the market in 1986.
Now, three decades later, Nissan is reviving the Datsun brand. “Nissan wants to create a low cost brand without giving Nissan cars a low cost image,” continues Nagley. Nissan hasn’t determined where the new Datsun lineup will be produced, but does state that it plans to release six different models in India, Russia, and Indondesia by 2014.
Nissan plans to release some of the new Datsun vehicles at around $3,000, which is quite a stretch from their current cheapest model, the Nissan Tsuru in Mexico at $8,000. To get into the lowest priced segment and undercut other Asian automakers, Nissan is going to give up a lot along the way, including ubiquitous items, such as power windows, automatic transmissions, and multiple air bags.
Could Datsun find its way back into the US? So far, Nissan isn’t giving us that particular green light, but I can imagine that an economy-car’s economy car might go over well in the US. Automakers are posting slight gains in sales this year, but as the economy continues to fluctuate, consumers are playing their cards closer to the chest, and maybe a cheap car, like Datsun, is just what they need to get a safe and economical set of wheels.