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March 21, 2012

Datsun Product Name Makes a Comeback

Datsun.pngI'm thrilled to see that the Datsun will make a comeback... and not as a zombie brand but as a division of Nissan.

The brand name dates back to 1931 and was a marketing coup for the Japanese company who used it as leverage to enter the Southern California market during the 60s and 70s.

The company's legendary success is greatly due to the 102-year-old Japanese marketing genuis Yutaka Katayama, who launched the name in the U.S. with a budget of $1,000.

Nissan discontinued the Datsun name - which was synonymous with cheap but sporty cars - to corral all the models under the Nissan name by 1989 they launched the upscale Infiniti brand.

Datsun cars will not be sold in the U.S., however, while the brand name will be launched in India, Indonesia and Russia. This keeps the positioning of Nissan from mid-to-high end, but allows the company to offer vehicles to first time buyers in developing countries.

Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn announced that the first new Datsun will stay true to the company's origins as a "green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content. It's going to be a generous car."

Nissan expects to grab 8% of the global market by 2016 selling cars priced under $10,000. But one analyst says he is not convinced because "They haven't even achieved a solid brand identity for Nissan yet. It's going to be a bumpy road."

As for a possible relaunch in the U.S. in the future, Ghosn says "The name has been gone so long it doesn't carry any huge nostalgia."

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Posted by William Lozito at March 21, 2012 9:32 AM
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