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Nissan resurrects the Datsun brand

By Kevin Voigt, CNN
March 21, 2012 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
An advertisement for the Datsun-1972 created by Spanish artist Salvador Dali. An advertisement for the Datsun-1972 created by Spanish artist Salvador Dali.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nissan Motor Company announced the return of the Datsun brand after 30 years
  • Plans to introduce a low-cost car in Indonesia, India and Russian markets in 2014
  • Move underlines the growing importance of developing economies for Nissan
  • Nissan plans to double car production in Indonesia to 250,000 vehicles per year

(CNN) -- Nissan Motor Company announced the return of the Datsun brand after 30 years, with plans to introduce a low-cost car in several emerging markets in 2014.

In a nod to the growing importance of developing markets, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn made the announcement Tuesday in Indonesia, one of three markets the new car line will debut.

"The Datsun brand has a global mission, but when you go on a global mission you start with priorities and today we said our priority are three: They are Indonesia, they are India and they are Russia," Ghosn said.

"That doesn't mean that we are going to be limiting it to there. This is the first step of development, which are these three markets, but absolutely not excluding other high growth markets or other emerging markets from the range of Datsun," he added.

The Datsun brand first emerged in Japan in 1923 but was phased out in the 1980s as the company focused on mid-market buyers and its upscale Infiniti brand, launched in 1989. The new line will capitalize on the Datsun tradition of low-cost, sporty cars marketed in burgeoning economies where many young drivers are first-time buyers.

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The company also plans to include a "green" line of Datsun cars.

Ghosn drew an analogy to Japan's economy when it launched the Datsun brand and today's Indonesian economy, which has grown steadily at about 6% per year. The country is the fourth most populous nation in the world with 250 million people.

"Datsun was introduced to Japan to bring reliable, afford and contemporary technology to consumers who had too few choices," Ghosn said at the Indonesia press conference. "Today, this is the very situation in Indonesia. There is a growing segment of up and coming customers who have few choices. They can buy motorcycles, they can buy used vehicles or they can buy a new vehicle but one based on older technology. We will offer them an exciting new choice."

The company also announced plans to invest $400 million in Indonesia production, adding 3,300 jobs and producing 250,000 vehicles by 2014. Nissan sales outlets will increase to 150 in Indonesia by 2015, the company said.

"Datsun is part of our company heritage and will now contribute to its future," Ghosn said.

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