Recently Re-Launched Datsun Brand to Die Again

All exported Nissans from 1958 to 1986 were rebadged under the Datsun banner. During that time, the Fairlady Z cars became iconic and are still fondly remembered here in North American. But, from 1983 to 1986, the Datsun name was phased out in favor of Nissan, the parent company’s name. All these years later, the name Datsun still has brand name recognition. So, when Nissan was looking to start a budget brand in emerging markets, the Datsun name was tapped again for service. But, it may have been short-lived. 

1972 Datsun 240Z
1972 Datsun 240Z | Bring a Trailer

Massive losses at Nissan

The news services and internet today received the news that Datsun is going under the knife again. The parent company, Nissan, is hurting. They were losing money and re-organizing prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic lockdown. The situation has only made it worse. The news today indicated that $2.8 billion are going to be cut from Nissan’s prior forecasts. To do that, Nissan will get rid of Datsun,… again.

Datsun takes the hit

The news of the cutbacks for Nissan is bad. The news for Datsun is terminal. The re-launched company has been trying to grab a foothold in the affordable and reliable small car category in Indonesia, Nepal, South Africa, India, and Russia. 

Datsun Redi-Go Crossover Hatchback
Datsun Redi-Go with one litre gas engine on display during its launch on July 26, 2017 in New Delhi, India | Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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Datsun models currently produced

The models that are currently under the Datsun banner are the Go city car, the Go+ multi-purpose vehicle, the Mi-Do subcompact hatchback, the On-Do subcompact sedan, Redi-Go crossover hatchback, and the Cross crossover. No Z cars or their equivalent are in the portfolio of products. All of them will go away. Interestingly, the models offered in Russia are rebadged Lada models, not original Datsuns.

Datsun Go+ on display
Datsun GO+ at its launch on January 16, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Datsun Go+ is a seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV)| Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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Bloomberg report earlier today said, based on anonymous sources familiar with the planning, that Nissan is looking at every factory that is operating under production expectations, and it will, 

“phase out the Datsun brand, shut down one production line in addition to the recently closed operation in Indonesia and reach the reduced spending target this year by cutting marketing, research, and other costs, the person said.”

The report continues and mentions that Datsun,

“will be phased out as Nissan focuses on its main markets of the U.S., Japan and China”

All this leaked information comes ahead of Nissan’s planned May 28th financial results meeting.

Datsun On-Do, a budget sedan, the first model ever to be made in Russia under the Datsun brand, is unveiled in Moscow on April 4, 2014 | AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV via Getty Images

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Ask not for whom the bell tolls

So, once again, Datsun’s death knell is tolling. There is no indication from the report at how immediate the shuttering of the brand will be. However, Nissan expects shuttering Datsun, along with other changes, should return the company to profitability in three years. 

The Datsun Z cars are legendary and hold the most memory for the North American consumers, even if some of them were rebadged as Nissans. The current day Datsuns are a far cry from that exciting 300ZX that many remember. But, no matter. Even though the Datsun name was circulating off our shores again, it will quickly disappear again as well.