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Datsun rises in South Africa too

In to Africa: Nissan corporate vice-president and head of Datsun Vincent Cobee says Datsun will target the upwardly mobile in developing nations.

Nissan budget brand Datsun spreads its reach to Africa in 2014 launch

27 Feb 2013

THE resurrection of Datsun has gathered pace with the announcement in Japan that South Africa has been added to the list of countries to get cheap and cheerful products from Nissan’s new budget division from late next year.

Russia, India and Indonesia had already been named as destinations for the Datsun line-up that will launch with two models within the first year before expanding later on.

Now South Africa has been identified as the fourth market to get the first Datsun car that should be in showrooms from the end of 2014 – 100 years after the company was founded as Dat-go in Japan.

The company has hinted that South Africa is probably only the first step across Africa for Datsun that will lead Nissan’s charge in emerging nations.

Nissan Australia has no plans to bring back the Datsun brand here, saying the Nissan and Infiniti badges will remain on all vehicles sold locally.

Nissan expects its Datsun-branded vehicles to comprise up to half of its sales in India, Indonesia and Russia by 2016, providing a key driver in its ambition to achieve eight per cent global market share and eight per cent operating profit under its Nissan Power 88 plan.

 center imageLeft: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn the new Datsun logo.

In Russia, Datsun cars will be sold alongside vehicles from Avtovaz, which is also owned by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

In India, news reports suggest Nissan is planning a new plant to built about 200,000 Datsuns a year.

No Datsun product details have been revealed, but Nissan says the cars will be engaging to drive, accessible (cheap) and provide peace of mind to owners.

The vehicles are expected to be made locally in each of the major markets and modified to suit local tastes and driving conditions.

The Datsun name, which can trace its origins back to 1914 when it started out as Dat-Go (lightning-fast car), was phased out in 1981 and replaced globally by Nissan.

In South Africa, Nissan will be hoping Datsun can recapture the company’s glory days in the 1970s when it was the number-one band between 1976 and 1978.

Nissan corporate vice-president and head of Datsun Vincent Cobee said the return of Datsun was integral to Nissan’s expansion in fast-growing markets with 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," he said.

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