Plans are reportedly progressing to bring back Datsun. Wait, what? Wasn't Datsun just the name of Nissan before it became Nissan? Why yes, yes it was. But the Japanese automaker is – as we initially reported back in July – planning on dipping back into its own history to launch a budget brand for developing markets.

The sub-brand would further increase the number of marques in CEO Carlos Ghosn's portfolio that already includes Renault, Dacia, Nissan, Infiniti, Renault-Samsung Motors and a significant stake in Russia's AvtoVAZ.

As Auto Express points out, the Renault-Nissan Alliance already has a budget brand called Dacia (pictured above) that's managed by the French side of the equation and based in Romania. (You may recognize the name from the brand's off-road racing exploits in the Andros Trophy or Pikes Peak, or from James May's obsession with the brand's sensible vehicles on Top Gear.) Nissan's revived Datsun nameplate may, then, amount to little more than rebadged versions of Dacias for markets like Russia and China.

Whatever they sell and wherever they sell them, one thing's all but certain: Datsun won't be coming back to the United States any time soon. Oh well, we'll just have to stick with Nissan and vehicles like the 370Z and GT-R.


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  • 26 Comments
      whofan
      • 3 Years Ago
      A retro of the 240Z would be a good place to start!
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      WillieD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just what we need...a cheaper Nissan.
      tenspeeder
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should bring them to the US. Heck, those three models pictured already look better than anything Nissan is pushing at the lower end of their lineup
        Lars
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tenspeeder
        +1 Honestly. Why are we being punished with the embarrassing-looking new Versa Sedan? :(
      Dafish
      • 3 Years Ago
      They can bring back the Datsun 610 pickup. I had one and loved it. Just sheet metal, frame and drivetrain, none of the "safety stuff" now on the cars due to lack of enforceing the laws. I parked next to a 1980 280Z yesterday, sweeter then anything build now days.
        tinted up
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dafish
        I hope it wasn't a 1980 280zx, those are uglier than hell, cool turbo motor though... Even the late 70's Z cars got somewhat ruined with the stupid bumper laws that were enacted. Give me a classic early 70s model any day.
      Ironb
      • 3 Years Ago
      The nissan brand is already subpar how low can they go.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Give us a neo 510. That's what I want. I couldn't care less how it's badged.
      Felipe Politano
      • 3 Years Ago
      Call me crazy, but I do think there is a place for Datsun in the US. They could rebadge the brazilian Renault Duster [look it up; it is a more refined rendition of the Dacia Duster] as a Datsun. Based on current prices, a fully loaded Duster with AWD and a 2.0 liter 145hp engine could be sold in the US for the same price of a base Suzuki SX4 or Kia Soul. It has an interior full of hard plastics, yes, but it's got lots of interior room for its size and is very affordable. Budget minded customers are THE escalading trend right now, and a low cost compact crossover for a subcompact price sounds just right. They could also rebadge the Dacia Logan as a Datsun. It looks terribly dull and dated, but provides almost the same interior room of a Corolla, for much less. Given that a loaded Logan sells for 20% less than a Nissan Versa, this Datsun could easily take the title of most affordable car on the market. But the Datsun brand could receive rebadged vehicles from other brands besides Dacia, too. The Samsung SM3 [aka the Renault Fluence] is one of the best compact sedans out there, besting the Civic, Corolla and many others in recent comparos. It could make for a a very appealing Datsun, one with a pricetag below competition like the Kia Forte but with far more refinement. There is also an electric version of that car, how appropriate is that for a 'conscious' brand? Moving upmarket, there is the Samsung SM5 [aka the Renault Latitude], a midsize sedan with conservative but handsome design and refined interior, based on the Laguna. It could come to the US as a more affordable alternative to the koreans, since it is built in South Korea as well. Even more upmarket, there is the fullsize SM7, which wouldn't make much sense for a budget brand, but could help make the line up more interesting. Also built in Korea is the Samsung version for the Renault Koleos SUV, the QM5. It is refined enough to battle the likes of the Tucson or CRV, but with a slightly lower pricepoint. All in all, I see a VERY INTERESTING business case of bringing the Datsun brand back to the US. As cars are getting bigger and more expensive by the day, a little frugal thinking wouldn't hurt in times of 'moody' economics.
      TangoR34
      • 3 Years Ago
      To be honest I think they should spend more effort on the Infiniti brand itself, especially for the european market. Diesel engines, more options with manual greaboxes and aggressive bodykit and rims. Renault already has Dacia to cover the super-budget market.
      Alterego
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great idea! I loved those early Datsuns, esp. the pickup and the 510. It's a way for Nissan to bring us some efficient minimalist strippers without "watering down" their image.
      You guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its too bad we won't see new Datsuns in the States.
        Bill
        • 3 Years Ago
        @You guy
        the Nissans don't even look good. Juke quest and frontier are the only cars that are inspiring.
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