Industry > Business

Nissan pulls the plug on Datsun (again)

Resources will be used to fund parent company’s electrification pivot

The Go subcompact was Datsun’s first offering. PHOTO FROM DATSUN

Most of you would probably be too young to know, but Nissan was once called Datsun. In fact, it was the Japanese automaker’s name for seven decades. For a while, both the “Nissan” and “Datsun” brands were used, until the company dropped the latter in the 1980s. But in an effort to reach more customers in developing countries, Nissan relaunched the brand to sell affordable vehicles.

Datsun’s India plant ceased production of the redi-Go. PHOTO FROM DATSUN

The reboot looked promising as many potential markets could spark Datsun’s renaissance. The Go compact seemed like a good and affordable car that was attainable for most car buyers. The on-Do and the mi-Do seemed to be decent subcompacts.

The cute redi-Go looked like a perfect vehicle for tight city streets. The brand even did a cute crossover called the Go Cross. Datsun was marketed in 10 countries, and it sold over 90,000 units in 2016.

Datsun exclusively offered subcompact vehicles in its lineup. PHOTO FROM DATSUN

But then, sales have since slumped. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, Datsun only moved around 6,400 units in 2021. This was a full 90% decline in sales in the last five years. Additionally, the report claims that Nissan’s deals with local distribution partners didn’t pan out well.

A Japan Today report shares Nissan’s statement about Datsun’s impending demise. The brand’s remaining plant in Chennai will stop making the redi-Go, but sales of built units will continue. Datsun’s resources will then be realigned to boost Nissan’s EV business.

It’s always nice to see old brands rise from the ashes, produce new models, and roam our roads again. Too bad we weren’t even able to see Datsun hit our market.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.