Tags: Nissan | Datsun | Sales | cars

Nissan to Revive Datsun Brand After Three Decades to Boost Sales

Tuesday, 20 March 2012 09:23 AM

Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-biggest automaker, will revive its Datsun brand after three decades in a bid to increase sales in developing markets such as Russia, India and Indonesia.

Nissan will hold press conferences in Tokyo and Mumbai tomorrow to announce its plans for the brand, it said in emailed invitations. The Datsun brand was officially discontinued in 1981, Christopher Keeffe, a spokesman for the company, said. He declined to further elaborate on plans for the brand ahead of the press conference.

The carmaker, which gets about 33 percent of its revenue from North America and 21 percent from Japan, will start selling the Datsun cars in India, Indonesia and Russia from 2014, Nissan said in a statement today. The brand, its third, will help the company compete against companies such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. in India and Toyota Motor Corp. in Indonesia, Ammar Master, an analyst at LMC Automotive in Bangkok, said.

“Datsun could bring in volumes at the lower end of the market,” said Master. “While the Nissan brand will continue to move upmarket.”

In India, Nissan sells its Micra compact hatchback from 421,765 rupees ($8,348).

Low-End Competition

Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest automaker, derives the majority of its sales from the mini-car segment that includes cars with 1 liter engines and less than 3.6 meters long. The New-Delhi based unit of Suzuki Motor Corp. offers its best-selling Alto model from 240,352 rupees. In October, Hyundai Motor Co. added its cheapest model, the Eon, priced from 269,999 rupees, to compete with Maruti in this segment.

Compacts and mini-cars accounted for more than 75 percent of total passenger-car sales in the nation in the eleven months ended February, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Maruti had 42 percent of the total Indian passenger-car market while Hyundai had 19 percent and Nissan 1.5 percent, according to data from the group.

Vehicle sales in Indonesia are projected to rise more than 50 percent in five years as the growing working class demands minivans and compact cars. Nissan expects industrywide sales to double in Indonesia by 2017, it said in today’s statement.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets estimates Indonesia had 32 vehicles for every 1,000 people in 2010, compared with 123 in Thailand and 300 in Malaysia. Indonesia’s economy and population are bigger than those two Southeast Asian neighbors combined.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012 09:23 AM
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