Revived Datsun Brand Reveals First New Car in 30 Years

The first new car from Nissan’s revived Datsun sub-brand has just been revealed in India. Called the Go, a name inspired by the first car launched by the company, it is the first new model from Datsun in 30 years.

“We came up with keywords that defined what we were aiming for,” says Datsun’s Executive Design Director, Koji Nagano, about the brand’s relaunch. “It needed to be clear and robust — it was also very important to aim straight at the trends of the time.”

Nagano says that Datsun had to appear “quick and sporty” as well as being “solid and modern”, these are undeniably qualities that were common in Datsun products of yore. But where are these qualities in the budget product revealed in India?

Let’s delve into a bit of history.

Datsun launched 82 years ago in Japan and was acquired by Nissan a few years later. The name soldiered on however, affixed to such legendary products as the 510, Fairlady and 240Z. These products made it difficult for senior executives to rebrand the cars as Nissans, a badge worn by trucks and commercial vehicles. But management finally won over skeptics and the Datsun cars began to appear as Nissans in an effort to globalize the nameplate. By 1986 the Datsun brand had been completely phased out.

In 2012 the decision was made to resurrect the company and an announcement made in March that year stated that Datsun would be revived as a sub-brand for Nissan. The goal was to offer customers in high-growth markets an accessible, reliable and durable vehicle with an engaging driving experience that was specifically tailored to local environments.

The new Datsun is a far cry from the earlier vehicles that entered the developed US market in force and created a cult following that still exists to this day. But Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, sees it as an opportunity.

“We’re bringing it back and giving it a modern shape, with modern technology that is particularly aimed at the high-growth market, addressing the segments where Nissan has no offer,” Ghosn said at the event today.

As the first vehicle in the new range of Datsun cars, the Go will be available the Indian market from early 2014. Nissan plans to introduce the Datsun brand in high-growth markets such as Indonesia, Russia and South Africa by the end of next year.

So how the car buying public in those developing markets react to the new Datsun? We’ll just have to wait and see.


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