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Nissan Reviving The Datsun Brand

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 1:59pm
Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan is bringing back the Datsun three decades after shelving the brand that helped build its U.S. business. This time, Nissan hopes the name synonymous with affordable and reliable small cars will power its growth in emerging markets.

Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn made the announcement Tuesday while in Indonesia, one of three markets besides India and Russia, where the Datsun will go on sale from 2014.

Datsun debuted in Japan in 1932, and hit American showrooms more than 50 years ago.

It was discontinued globally starting in 1981 to unify the model lineup under the Nissan brand. Nissan also makes Infiniti luxury models.

Nissan has often toyed with the idea of reviving the Datsun brand because it is associated with value and reliability — selling points that Nissan and other Japanese automakers built their reputation in the American market.

Nissan said the Datsun name will help its profile in newer markets, where it is counting on solid growth in coming years.

Nissan expects its vehicle sales to nearly double in Indonesia by 2017 from last year.

Nissan plans to sell 60,000 vehicles in Indonesia for fiscal year ending in March 2012. Overall, about 890,000 vehicles are sold in Indonesia a year, making it an important southeast Asian market, according to Nissan.

Ghosn met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and reiterated Nissan's commitment to the Indonesian market as a key production site.

"Nissan is bringing new jobs and new vehicles to Indonesia," he said.

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