Nissan to Bring Back Datsun Car Brand in Selected Markets
Nissan Motor co.is bringing back the storied Datsun brand, but American drivers are unlikely to see any new vehicles adorned with the name whose popularity in Southern California served as a springboard to international prominence.
Nissan is positioning Datsun as a lower-cost brand in emerging markets. The new line will go on sale in India, Indonesia and Russia in 2014.
The Datsun brand dates from 1931 as the nameplate of Japan’s DAT Motorcar Co., which was purchased by Nissan in 1933. The car was first known as a Datson, and later changed to Datsun.
The marque grew to a success by featuring well engineered, sporty cars such as the 240Z and Datsun 510 sedan in the United States.
Much of that growth is attributed to Yutaka Katayama, the auto marketing guru who spearheaded Nissan’s launch into the American car market.
Katayama, who is 102, worked in a variety of marketing jobs before being exiled by senior management in 1960 to what looked like a dead-end position in the United States because of his opposition to a company-backed union.
At the time Nissan had sold barely 1,000 vehicles in the United States under the Datsun brand name through independent distributors. Katayama, known as a savvy marketer and enthusiastic gearhead, turned the company into a household name.