Boy did Nissan put the cross-hairs directly on their collective heads after their Datsun announcement. If you missed it Nissan is relaunching the Datsun brand to build Über cheap vehicles. How cheap? Some say as low as $3,000 – but that’s iffy at best. Others hint that a (still amazingly cheap) price-tag that’s about half of the Nissan Versa is what we should expect.
These are equivalent prices as the reintroduction of Datsun in 2014 will not land on dealerships in the United States, but that can change. Keep in mind: it is very expensive to sell cars built overseas in our market. The markup can easily take a vehicle’s price up to a level that usurps its discounted roots.
If – and that’s a big ‘IF’ – the Datsun comes back to the USA, it will most likely be on a similar level as Toyota’s Scion brand. That means US prices would probably match Scion’s too. With that said, it would be an outstanding boon for the financially strapped to get quality new cars for under $9,000. One can only hope.
In the past, Nissan has built a few concept vehicles that might hint at what they may have in mind:
Nissan Readigo Concept: A few years back, this slick little concept vehicle was built purely for fun. Ah, but the simple layout, lightweight four-cylinder and CVT unit will probably be similar to the upcoming Datsun models. The whole structure of the Nissan Readigo concept is lightweight, durable and simple.
Nissan Nails Concept: Now THIS is a cool concept. So many of us have been jonesing for the tiny pickup trucks of yore. This could be a full-on winner. Built a few years back purely as a concept, the Nissan Nails Concept truck has a removable rear section that was held in place with buttons and hooks – like a nylon tent. The cargo bed is bed big enough for a pair of mountain bikes or a large drum kit. The floor is flat and low throughout the whole truck. Easily damaged sections of the Nails Concept are covered in a bed-liner-like material to remain unscathed and durable.
Look folks, we don’t know what Nissan has up their sleeve regarding Datsun other than keeping the designs cheap and simple. They have to develop all new vehicles with all new building techniques which costs billions. Return on their investment will be tough. Now, if they opt to use some of their past, simple concepts as the basis of their new vehicles, it could mitigate some of the expenditures for research and development.
Sure, a cheap car like Nissan is alluding to is tough and I doubt the new Datsun brand can keep to the hinted $3,000 base price and be profitable. Then again, TATA’s Nano managed to keep its overall price remarkably low. Maybe Nissan and Datsun are looking to India for inspiration?
Datsun is supposed to target large population countries like India, Russia, Malaysia and, possibly, China.
As someone who loves small, cheap cars – I sincerely hope Nissan can pull it off. Who knows? Maybe Datsun will rock the automotive world and (dare I say it?) come to the United States too!
Damn-it – we NEED fun, cheap cars!
Here’s a fun video with the 2013 Chevy Spark, the cheapest four-door hatchback currently sold in the United States!