TOKYO – The Datsun nameplate may soon be revived by Nissan Motor Co. as a low-cost sub-brand for emerging markets such as Russia and India.
The Japanese carmaker plans to relaunch Datsun in 2014 and initially start selling the cars in Russia, India and Indonesia, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported. The vehicles will be priced around 500,000 yen ($6,100), it said.
Nissan declined to comment on the report.
A focus on expanding sales in emerging markets is a key pillar of Nissan's mid-term business plan. It aims to make countries such as India, Brazil, China and Russia account for 60 percent of its global sales by 2016, from 40 percent in 2007.
It also has ambitious goals for expanding market share in emerging markets.
Many of the upcoming Datsuns are expected to use Nissan's global V-platform for low-cost small cars and source most of their parts locally, the Nikkei said in its report on Thursday.
In Russia, Nissan will use platforms supplied by its local partner AvtoVaz. Nissan and its French partner, Renault, are also close to announcing a deal to increase the alliance's stake in Russia's AvtoVAZ, the maker of Lada cars, to aid growth there.
Nissan targets global volume of 300,000 units a year for Datsun, the Nikkei said.
Nissan has said it will increase the number of models using its V-platform to three from two now by 2016. It also aims to boost global V-platform sales to 1 million units, from 130,000 in 2010.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has spoken of the high potential of the Datsun brand, under which most of Nissan's cars and trucks were sold outside Japan since the company's inception in 1934.
Nissan began phasing out the the Datsun name in the early 1980s. The move was meant to strengthen Nissan's global corporate image.
For Nissan, using the Datsun brand would remove a conundrum that its domestic rivals Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co face in emerging markets. Toyota and Honda officials have said selling ultra-cheap vehicles would be difficult given the potential damage to their mass-market brands, respected for their reliability and quality.
Reuters contributed to this story