The Datsun Brand Is Back, But Not How We Remember It

A name from the past is back - though it may be some time before it's either exciting or in Britain
Datsun 280Z (Wikipedia) Datsun 280Z (Wikipedia)

So, Datsun's back. Nearly thirty years since the name was phased out - in favour of Nissan for a single global marketing push - the classic name of old is being put onto the front of cars again.

To many, the Datsun name's only familiar from their grandad's old, brown or green Sunny - or from Jeremy Clarkson's habitual rebranding of the Nissan 350Z - but the name was behind some of the truly great Nissan family cars of old. The Fairlady Sports 2000, the 240Z and the Bluebird/510 were all Datsun models.

Datsun 510 (Wikipedia/Tennen-Gas) Datsun 510 (Wikipedia/Tennen-Gas)

However, the relaunch is made of slightly less auspicious stuff.

The new car, the Datsun Go, is based on the Nissan Micra platform and is pitched as a super-budget small car for the Indian market where Datsun is still a byword for reliability.

Coming in at the equivalent of £4500 (around 400,000 Rupees), Indian buyers get a car the same size as the Micra (albeit 40mm lower), with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a manual gearbox. They also get air-conditioning into the deal.


Okay, so it's no looker nor a thrill to drive, but it's the first of many. Datsun plan on selling more models in emerging markets - such as Russia, South Africa and Indonesia.

Success of the no-frills cars abroad may lead to a European presence a few years down the line and give young drivers more options for affordable and insureable first cars. Nissan's sister company Renault has its own budget brand in the form of Dacia that has, with some success, already expanded from the East European niche.

In the meantime, we'll busy ourselves thinking of a future Datsun WRC entry...


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