UK Datsun launch not ruled out

September 2, 2013 | By | In News

Datsun may not be arriving in the UK any time soon, but Nissan's UK chief hasn't ruled it out completely.

Nissan Motor Company announced that Datsun would be making a return earlier this year, but initially it will be focussed at emerging markets.

India, Indonesia and South America are key target markets for the brand where the middle classes are expanding and wanting to get mobile. But that doesn't mean it will never arrive in the UK.

"We think 80 per cent of Datsun customers will be first time car buyers," explained Vincent Cobee, head of the brand. "They won't be loyal to any car brand and we will have a chance to help them avoid their fears and realise their dreams with Datsun."

Although Nissan plans for Datsun to become a global brand – with two new model launches specific to Russia, India and Indonesia in 2014 alone – the chance of seeing one on UK roads any time soon is still small.

"This is a brand for emerging markets and investment is being focussed there," explained Jim Wright, Nissan GB managing director.

"I can't see Datsun launching here in the foreseeable future. There's little appetite for it with dealers and it would need to be set up as a separate sales channel completely, like Infiniti.

"These cars are cheap and to have them homologated for the UK in terms of emissions and crash testing would push the price up and away from the target market."

The Datsun Go is expected to cost between £3-4,000 when it goes on sale, but preparing it for UK roads would make it much more expensive.

"Dacia is where the focus is in this market currently," added Wright. That brand falls under the Renault Nissan Alliance and is doing well in the UK. Launching Datsun would mean direct competition, perhaps another reason for the delay.

"It will be interesting to see what happens with Dacia – the cars are being bought by people who want to keep them for a long time. Will there be longevity there? I'm not sure. For many reasons I can't see Datsun in the UK for some time yet."

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