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Datsun Returns As Nissan's New Player In Emerging Markets Photo:

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Mike Stevens | Mar, 21 2012 | 1 Comment

Nissan has announced the return of its Datsun marque this week, putting an end to years of speculation, and it's brought a brand-new logo with it.

The Datsun brand will enter at the bottom end of the Nissan family: where Infiniti sits on the top rung as the carmaker's luxury flagship, Datsun will stick to ultra-affordable volume sellers.

As reported in recent months, the reborn Datsun will enter as Nissan's player in the world's emerging markets, launching in India, Indonesia and Russia from 2014.

"It's a green car, affordable car, small displacement, high local content," Ghosn told business paper Reuters this week in Indonesia. "It's going to be a generous car."

"Datsun is part of our company's heritage and will now become part of our growth."

The revival of the Datsun badge dovetails into last year's announcement of Nissan's "Power 88" six-year business plan, which calls for a new vehicle to be launched every six weeks across its three brands.

Nissan will inject US$400 million into its Indonesian operations over the next two years, while doubling its workforce and production in the region and tripling its outlets to 90,000.

Ghosn added that, in Indonesia, the production focus will be on the domestic market rather than export markets.

"The priority is for the Indonesian market. If there is any room for more capacity it will be located for domestic rather than for exports, although cost is competitive," Ghosn told Reuters.

He said that the Indonesian, Indian and Russian markets offer an opportunity for the carmaker to grow at lower price points. With the return of Datsun, Nissan can explore opportunities at the 'budget' end of the market without diluting the Nissan brand.

"Indonesia is becoming the powerhouse of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations," Ghosn said. "Steady population growth and a robust economy mean the future of this market is bright."

While the core Nissan marque focuses on middle-income buyers and Infiniti caters to the luxury buyer, the Datsun models will likely sell for around $5000 in its target markets.

Whether Datsun will ever again be seen in Europe, Australia and the US is unclear, although it is expected that the brand will maintain a focus on new and emerging markets.

Details on Datsun's new models and platforms - likely to be shared with existing and upcoming Nissan and Renault cars - will be revealed over the coming year.

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