Nissan to bring back Datsun
After a more than 30-year hiatus, Nissan's Datsun brand is coming back to production, the Japanese automaker announced Tuesday.
The iconic brand will be introduced in 2014 as an "ultra low-cost" vehicle in India, Indonesia and Russia, and will target first-time car buyers.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn spoke about the brand at a press conference in Yokohama - where the company has its global headquarters - on Wednesday. He said:
A lot of people in emerging markets today are driving motorcycles, some of them are driving used cars . . . What we want to offer is a modern, affordable car -- something that people will be very happy to own, a product that is generous, giving them exactly what they want, and at an affordable price.
Little is known about the specifications of the new Datsun. The automaker says the car is already in development, and that it has sketches and models. Ghosn hinted that Datsun might be sold beyond the three planned countries, but said Nissan has no plans to sell Datsun in Japan or any other developed country.
Datsun will sell for less than $10,000 in Indonesia in order to qualify for the country's green-car programme, and the price tag in India will likely be lower than it will be in Indonesia, Ghosn said.
The brand debuted in Japan in 1932, and saw a nearly 40-year run, before being discontinued in 1981.
US recording artist Sheryl Crow's mention of the brand - "Drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks" - in a hugely popular 1994 song broadcast the then 13-years-discontinued brand across global airwaves.
Buyers have driven up Nissan's shares 15 per cent in 2012.