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First look: The first new Datsun in decades

Pheonix: Datsun will re-launch in India on July 15.

Datsun teases its first new car since the early 1980s – a small, unnamed hatchback

3 Jul 2013

THIS is the face of 21st century Datsun – Nissan’s reborn cut-price subsidiary.

Nissan will re-launch the famous brand on July 15, and has released a teaser sketch of the first new car to use the nameplate in three decades – a small five-door hatchback.

The Indian city of New Delhi will host the world premiere of both brand and model, a reflection of Datsun’s focus on developing markets, with market launch pencilled in for early 2014.

Nissan announced its intention to dust off the 80-year old badge, which retired from use in 1983, in March 2012, as 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.

As reported, the company expects its Datsun-branded vehicles to comprise up to half of its sales in India, Indonesia and Russia within three years. South Africa is also named as a key market, with a launch set for later in 2014.

Datsun will operate much like sister brand Renault’s Romanian spin-off Dacia, which uses paid-off and proven underpinnings to create cheap and cheerful offerings for high-growth markets.

Australian enthusiasts should note that 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. It also appears unlikely Datsun will resurrect iconic nameplates such as the 240Z coupe.

A Datsun release says all models will be “individually developed” for different markets, but will follow a common inspiration – essentially, cars will be made locally and modified to suit local conditions.

In India, news reports suggest Nissan plans a new plant to build about 200,000 Datsuns a year.

“All future Datsun models will offer up-and-coming customers in high-growth markets an engaging driving experience, peace of mind ownership and accessibility at the right and transparent price with a competitive total cost of ownership,” it said.

“The 21st century Datsun will deliver a rewarding brand experience with no compromise in terms of accessibility, reliability and durability – the values deep rooted in the Datsun heritage.”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 hope Datsun can recapture the company’s glory days of the 1970s when it was the number-one band between 1976 and 1978.

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

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