If you’ve never driven a Datsun 1600 in the wet, you’ve never lived. The once mighty Datsun brand saw its demise in the late 1980s when Nissan decided to concentrate on its one-brand strategy to strengthen the Nissan name worldwide.
The Japanese giant spent a reported USD $500 million ($511 million) back in the early 80s to initially tell the world that Nissan and Datsun were the same company and eventually that it would no longer be using the Datsun name. Five years after the name change program ended in 1986, the Datsun brand was still better recognised in the United States than Nissan.
It’s no wonder then, that Nissan is considering bringing the name back to sell budget cars in emerging markets such as China and Russia. AutoExpress reports that Nissan is planning on extending its ownership of the Datsun name and to redesign its ageing logo. We can only guess that this means Nissan is serious about a revival.
In 2008 we saw Nissan show the world the Datsun XLink concept sports car, but given the global financial crisis that took place around the same time, nothing ever came of it.
Perhaps Nissan, which owns Infiniti as its premium brand, is looking at doing what Volkswagen does: having both premium and budget brands to push into as many markets as possible. In essence, Datsun may become what Seat is to Volkswagen and Dacia is to Renualt.
So, who wouldn’t love a Datsun 370z? Or maybe a Datsun version of the Micra? Or even better yet, a new Datsun 1600 rear-wheel drive sports car to compete with the upcoming Toyota FT-86?