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Datsun brand killed off for a second time

Yes, the writing has been on the wall for while, but it's official now: Datsun is dead, again.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Journalist
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The Datsun brand has been put back in the grave with production in India of the marque’s cars having ended in March.

Nissan has confirmed to Automotive News production of the Redi-Go has stopped in Chennai, India.

The Redi-Go, a badge-engineered Renault Kwid, was the brand’s last model in production. The larger Go range seemingly ended production earlier in the year.

India was the last market where Datsun was available, and today’s news signals the second death for the storied marque.

In 1931 Nissan used the Datsun name for its export vehicles. Datsun’s star rose with the launch of the much-lauded 240Z sports car in 1969.

The brand’s popularity, as well as those of other Japanese automakers, skyrocketed during oil price shocks of the 1970s.

Starting in the early 1980s the automaker began phasing out the Datsun brand in favour of its corporate Nissan name.

The Datsun brand was revived in 2013 under the leadership of former CEO Carlos Ghosn. Under his vision, Datsun would sell affordable vehicles in key developing markets — a Dacia for Asia, Africa and the sub-continent, if you will.

Datsun’s second life began in 2014 with production of the Go hatchback, and later Go+ wagon, in India and Indonesia. Datsun entered other developing markets, including Kazakhstan, South Africa, Belarus and Nepal.

Nissan also launched Datsun in Russia, where, thanks to the Japanese automaker’s relationship with Renault, it sold a selection of rebadged Ladas.

Sales never set the charts on fire, and by mid-2020 Datsun had quit Indonesia and announced plans to leave Russia too.

With the brand on death watch, its fate was telegraphed when the Magnite crossover was launched in 2020 as a Nissan.

The Magnite had been developed and trademarked as a Datsun, and included the budget brand’s signature grille and other styling features.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung

Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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