Nissan revives Datsun brand for emerging markets
CEO Ghosn says Datsun will be 'generous car'
Ghosn: Datsun will be "a green car, affordable car, (with) small displacement, high local content."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story overstated the number of dealerships Nissan plans to operate in Indonesia.
JAKARTA (Reuters) -- Nissan Motor Co. is reviving the Datsun brand to target increasing sales in Indonesia, India and Russia, the automaker's chief executive said Tuesday.
Nissan plans to invest $400 million in Indonesia over the next two years, will double hiring by 2014 and boost its dealerships in Southeast Asia's largest economy to 150 by 2015, CEO Carlos Ghosn said during a visit to Jakarta.
The Japanese automaker quit using the Datsun brand in 1981 to unify its model lineup globally under the Nissan brand. Nissan also markets the luxury Infiniti brand.
The Datsun brand will be revived for cars and trucks starting in 2014 for emerging markets, Nissan said.
"It's a green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content," Ghosn said of the Datsun. "It's going to be a generous car."
The Datsun name was introduced in Japan in 1932 and debuted in U.S. showrooms more than 50 years ago. It was instrumental in building Nissan's business in North America.
Nissan has been pushing rapidly into emerging markets, including a partnership with Ashok Leyland Ltd. in India and a recently announced factory in Brazil, where it aims to triple its market share by 2016.
Nissan and its French partner, Renault SA, are also close to announcing a deal to increase the alliance's stake in Russia's AvtoVAZ, the maker of Lada cars, to aid growth there.
The resurrection of Datsun follows the return of other heritage nameplates, including Toyota's 86, or "Hachi-roku" sports car, Chrysler's Dodge Dart compact car and partner Fiat's 500 minicar.
Nissan executives met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday and said they would inject $400 million for plant expansions to double production by 2014.
Nissan appointed Kintaro Izumida as president director of PT Nissan Motor Indonesia and PT Nissan Motor Distributor Indonesia, earlier this month, replacing Takayuki Kimura.
"The priority (for Nissan Motors in Indonesia) is for the Indonesian market," Ghosn said. "If there is any room for more capacity it will be located for the domestic (market) rather than for exports, although cost is competitive."
Nissan had previously targeted sales of 60,000 units and sales growth of 7 percent, according to the company's website, which also said it would open 70 dealerships by end of 2011.
Nissan is the third best-selling brand in Indonesia and hopes to increase sales by launching a cheaper multipurpose vehicle and city car suited specifically for the market.
The company's largest sales in Indonesia come from its popular family mini van Grand Livina, which accounts for 45 percent of sales. The city car lines, March and Juke, place second with a combined 40 percent of volume.
PT Indomobil Sukses Makmur, Nissan's authorized distributor in Indonesia, launched the crossover Nissan Juke in the first half of last year, and has sold 1,600 units per month since.Contact Automotive News