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Paris 2012 – Datsun not for Oz for now

Brothers in arms: It is unclear what product will fill the forthcoming Datsun portfolio, but expect the Nissan-owned brand to follow the formula used by Renault’s Dacia with cars like the Duster (left).

Nissan’s sentimental favourite Datsun will not return to Australia any time soon

Datsun logo1 Oct 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in PARIS

NISSAN will keep its reborn Datsun brand for emerging countries only for the time being, relying instead on models like the Micra to serve the bottom end of mature markets like Australia.

While details are secret as to what vehicles will be offered under the famous Japanese badge – which has lain dormant for almost 30 years – it is believed Nissan will follow the successful formula of Renault-owned Dacia, utilising existing long-lived and proven mechanicals clothed beneath modern yet inexpensively produced sheetmetal.

However, according to Nissan’s executive vice president, Andy Palmer, the upper-end models could find their way to established markets such as Australia in the longer term.

“(It is) unlikely I think (that Datsun will be sold in Australia) – though one should never say never,” he told the media at the Paris motor show last week.

“The intent of Datsun is very specific – looking at emerging markets, looking at what those guys who can’t afford motor cars today, looking at the new middle classes in key growth markets, and putting a car or a number of cars into that space.

“Now I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the upper end of that range making it one day to Western countries, and certainly you will see that in places like Russia.

“You will also see our ‘entry’ cars in China, Indonesia, India, and probably in other emerging places like Brazil.

“But into developed and mature markets… the market isn’t likely to be there. You’ll see our vehicles there going down only as far as Micra, or Pixo, but that’s about it.”

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced the much-speculated exhumation of the Datsun badge back in March at a press conference in Indonesia.

It is believed that Russia’s Avtovaz – maker of the (infamous) Lada cars sold in Australia from the 1970s to 1990s – will play a key role in the development and possible manufacturing of the Datsun-branded models.

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