Datsun brought back to life with French expertise image

The French Japanese Renault-Nissan alliance has found that a mass-market automaker can also go down to ultimately go up – in terms of brand strategy, that is. In a nutshell, they both have affordable, entry-level brands: Dacia for Renault and Datsun for Nissan.

The latter is a name that has numerous positive connotations for customers of a certain age in Europe and the United States, which recall 1970’s Datsuns. The brand was subsequently killed off by Nissan executives – and Renault Nissan alliance chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn believes that was a bad call. He has tasked Vincent Cobee, a Frenchman with a Harvard MBA, to reshape the resurrected brand name into a powerhouse. But the target is vastly different from a few decades ago – no presence in Europe and the US, instead focusing on emerging markets such as Russia, India, Indonesia and South Africa. “It’s more than an irony that we’re not going back there,” said Cobee, 46. “If I had my way, one day, I’d find a way to do that. But it’s not in the plans.”

Ghosn has asked Cobee to shape Datsun as a low-cost inspirational brand in the crucial, but risky emerging world markets. And just like in Dacia’s case in Europe, the automaker goes against the current – automakers usually focus on high-priced and large vehicles to deliver on ever-higher profit margins. And it also goes against the established measures: it first established local production and only after that launched sales, or develops stand-alone, focused, local products instead of cost-effective global nameplates.

Via Automotive News Europe