Datsun's back - and going budget
NEW ERA, NEW LOGO: Datsun is returning to South Africa to challenge the Chinese onslaught - but the Rising Sun emblem is now blue.
PRETORIA - Datsun is coming back to South Africa with a new budget car to be launched before the end of 2014.
The brand was discontinued globally in 1981 in favour of Nissan – and that’s how it’s been since but now the Chinese sales onslaught into Africa is becoming overwhelming and this is how Nissan plans to fight back.
The news follows a global decision in 2010 to re-introduce the Datsun brand as part of the company’s ambitious Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan to achieve eight percent of the global market and eight percent operating profit by fiscal year 2016.
Vincent Cobee, corporate vice-president at Nissan, told Wheels24: “The return of Datsun is integral to our expansion in fast-growing markets where there is a mushrooming upwardly-mobile segment. Datsun’s key values – accessible, reliable and modern - are designed to accommodate the needs and aspirations of this target group, just as it did for similarly optimistic customers in Japan, America and a large part of the world during most of the 20th century.”
Datsun will be re-established with a strong independent brand identity alongside Nissan and Infiniti.
Mike Whitfield, MD of Nissan SA, said: “Following Infiniti’s launch in 2012 we are delighted that SA will also be a destination of choice for the Datsun brand which enjoyed a proud heritage in this country after the Bluebird made its debut at the Pretoria Show in 1958.
“The 120Y and SSS models were household names before going on to become the No.1 brand from 1976 and 1978.”
While NSA plans to initiate Datsun sales with one car model, it's anticipated that a broader range of vehicles will become available. It's not known whether the initial model will be a sedan or hatchback.
The brand will also be introduced in India, Indonesia and Russia.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED...
The Datsun brand was created in 1931 by the DAT Motorcar for a new car model, spelling it as Datson to indicate its smaller size compared to the existing larger DAT.
In 1934, Nissan acquired DAT and the last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", because "son" also means "loss" in Japanese. The name also a refers to the Japanese rising sun national flag hence the name "Datsun".
Nissan phased out the Datsun brand in March 1986 not before the brand created the 510, Fairlady roadsters and 240Z coupes.
We reported in 2012 that the automaker would revive the brand and now we can confirm Datsun models will be sold (again) in South Africa.