Nissan South Africa announced on Friday in Johannesburg that it will bring the Datsun brand back to South Africa.
The first model to be introduced in South Africa will be a new passenger vehicle that will be launched by the end of 2014.
This makes South Africa the fourth market where Nissan will launch or relaunch the Datsun brand, following on India, Indonesia and Russia.
“The return of Datsun is integral to our expansion in fast-growing markets where there is a mushrooming upwardly-mobile segment,” said Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president at Nissan Motor Co. “Datsun’s key values – accessible, reliable and modern - are designed to accommodate the needs and aspirations of this target group, just as it did for similarly optimistic customers in Japan, America and a large part of the world during most of the 20th century.”
The Datsun brand was phased out in 1981 when it was integrated with Nissan branding as the company expanded globally. Datsun is to be re-established with a strong independent brand identity, alongside the Nissan and Infiniti brands.
Cobee told media that the core passenger car offer would be a model costing below R100 000.
Nissan SA Managing Director Mike Whitfield said it was too early to comment on how much of an investment the brand relaunch will entail and how many jobs it could create. “We are committed to continue to grow in South Africa, but it is too early to comment on job creation at this point.”
Coobee said South Africa has been seen as a country “in waiting” of sorts for a number of decades and that potential for growth can now be seen. He added that the country also forms part of one of the biggest and fastest-growing continents in the world and although the announcement on Friday was just for the brand coming to South Africa, “we are looking at Africa”. He added that launching a brand in a country is not “a neutral statement” and that it is a substantial and long-lasting commitment.
The market that Datsun will target is the first-time buyers, who want to be proud to be seen in the vehicle – the “up and coming, passionate customer with dreams and ambitions for a better tomorrow”.
Coobee did not want to be drawn into any specifics on what the model coming to South Africa would look like, simply stating that it will be a brand new vehicle.
See old Datsun models below: