Nissan bucks the trend, to revive Datsun brand for India and other emerging markets

The last few years have not been really great for the automotive industry as the great economic recession left it in tantrums, as car-makers struggled to stay afloat. General Motors shut down a boatload of brands like Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn and Daewoo and Ford closed down it's Mercury division. But all is not gloomy and dull in the world of automobiles and here is something for us to cheer about. Nissan, the Japanese manufacturer that is slowly but steadily gaining a foothold in India, recently announced its plans to revive the once-popular and iconic 'Datsun' brand. That's right, the legendary automotive marque is going to be reborn. If you aren't aware of Datsun, just check with your car-loving pa and grandpa who, we are sure, would be having lots and lots to say about. For us though, the word Datsun will always be associated with the timeless and classic 240Z that was the predecessor of Nissan's current sports car, the 370Z.

The revived Datsun brand will initially be launched in India, Indonesia and Russia and might expand its base further at a later stage. The major focus of reviving this brand is to gain traction in the emerging BRIC nations where car sales aren't showing signs of slowing down anytime now. Datsun will be positioned below Nissan with affordability being the major highlight of the brand. The first Datsun-badged car could reach showrooms in India as early as 2014 as the initial models are to be made at Renault-Nissan's alliance plant right here in Chennai. It was also announced that the core model of Datsun would retail under 4 Lakh Rupees, putting it right in the hot-spot. The Datsun brand is expected to play an important part in accelerating Nissan's growth across new markets and segments. The brand's logo was unveiled as was the hexagonal grille that will be a part of all Datsun cars.

"Datsun is an important part of the heritage of Nissan," said Ashwani Gupta, program director of Nissan’s newly-created Datsun Business Unit. "We will offer our customers in India modern and spirited cars that they will be happy and proud to own - at an affordable price". With this, Nissan, along with its partner Renault, will have no less than 3 brands vying for attention in India. If the luxury brand Infiniti also makes it here, the number goes up to 4. The company has to make sure that it gets the positioning and marketing of each of these brands right, so that the intended message reaches its target customers. Though the revival of Datsun seems to be a surprising move considering that manufacturers closed down brands by a dozen not so long ago, Nissan seems to have a clear plan to make the move stick. With the ever-aggressive Carlos Ghosn at the helm of the affairs, we don't really doubt them.

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