Nissan Bets On Indian Middle Class For Datsun Revival

The Nissan-owned Datsun brand is coming back…at least in India. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiled the new model at a ceremony in New Delhi today.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveils the Datsun GO at an event in New Delhi. Image: Nissan Global

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn unveils the Datsun GO at an event in New Delhi. Image: Nissan Global

Datsun is how most Americans first got to know Nissan. It’s the brand the company used to enter the US market in the 1960s. In 1983, a Datsun truck was the first car to roll off the assembly line at Nissan’s Smyrna plant. The Datsun name went away a few years later, but now it’s coming back in “high growth” markets like India, where the five seat hatchback—called the GO–will sell for around $7,000.

India is already home to what’s been called “the world’s cheapest car”, which hasn’t caught on with consumers.

In an interview with India’s CNBC TV 18, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says he still believes low cost autos are the way to go in that country. “This is not the end of what we bring to the growth market,” Ghosn said. “First, you’re going to have many cars under the Datsun name. And we’ll be bringing what we call ‘the ultra low cost car.'”

The Datsun GO will roll out later this year to Indonesia, South Africa, and Russia. But Nissan says there are currently no plans to bring Datsun back to the US.

NPR’s Parallels blog has a look back at other vintage auto brands that have tried to make a comeback.

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