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Datsun could relaunch as budget EV brand - report

Although it recently killed off again, Datsun could potentially be relaunched as an all-electric brand for developing markets in the future.

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Jack Quick
Jack Quick
Journalist
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Third time’s a charm, right?

Days after Datsun was killed off for a second time, a source at Nissan told Automotive News the Japanese automaker is debating what to do with the badge moving forward.

One option that’s reportedly being discussed is keeping the Datsun name to use as an emerging market electric vehicle (EV) brand.

It’s unclear when and if this’ll actually happen, as Nissan is currently focussing on Nissan-branded models.

“For many thousands of owners worldwide, Datsun continues to provide an engaging driving experience, peace of mind ownership at the right price and great value,” said Nissan in a statement to Automotive News.

“As part of Nissan’s global transformation strategy, Nissan is focusing on core models and segments that bring the most benefit to customers, dealer partners and the business.”

Alliance partners Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi recently detailed their ‘2030 roadmap’ which provided some clarity around their next-generation cars.

One major focus in the presentation was the Alliance’s huge mutual investments in common EV architectures, to ensure the group keeps up.

The Alliance is accelerating progress with a total €23 billion ($A34 billion) investment in the next five years on electrification, leading to 35 new electric models across all its brands (including Infiniti and Dacia) by 2030.

It’s unclear if Datsun is included in this figure but it could point toward Datsun returning as an EV-only offering in the future. Nothing is confirmed yet.

A key vehicle that was announced during the Alliance presentation was the all-electric Nissan Micra successor based on the new, retro-inspired Renault 5.

This new Micra “will be designed by Nissan and engineered and manufactured by Renault using our new common [CMF B-EV] platform, maximising the use of Alliance assets while maintaining its Nissan-ness,” according to Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

Up until March 2022, Nissan was producing the Redi-Go, a badge-engineered Renault Kwid, in Chennai, India. The large Go range seemingly ended production earlier in the 2022.

India was the last market where Datsun was available, and its latest axing marks its second death.

Datsun rose to fame with the launch of the 240Z sports car in 1969, but was founded in 1931.

The brand’s popularity, as well as those of other Japanese automakers, skyrocketed during the 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 development 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 such as Kazakhstan, South Africa, Belarus and Nepal too.

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

Sales of Datsun models never quite took off, and by mid-2020 Datsun had quit the Indonesian market and had announced plans to leave Russia too.

With the brand of death watch, its fate was sealed when the Magnite crossover, which was developed and trademarked as a Datsun, was launched in 2020 as a Nissan.

MORE: Datsun brand killed off for a second time
MORE: Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi present united front, share key plans

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Jack Quick
Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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