You may recall that there was a lot going on in 2020. A lot. So in case you missed this one, we’ll offer up a quick recap:
In May of that year, just a scant two months into the US COVID-19 pandemic, Nissan quietly announced that it would be winding down its Datsun brand – a big reveal that may not have registered amid the din, not to mention the fact that Datsun has been down this road before.
The brand, which had its heyday in the 1960s, has actually been around since 1931. In 1986 it was discontinued but received a stay in 2012 after then-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn pledged to revive the brand as a low-cost entry in emerging markets.
A decade later and a lot has changed. Ghosn is history after being accused of white collar crimes in 2019 and then fleeing Japan, leaving Nissan’s new execs to right the ship. This strategy seems to entail a shift where Nissan gets back to focusing on its core brands – Nissan and Infiniti – which left Datsun out of the mix. And while the decision to discontinue the brand was made in 2020, it wasn’t until March of this year that Nissan-Renault has finally ceased output at the car brand’s last remaining plant.
According to Automotive News, that plant – in Chennai, India – has wound down production of the Datsun Redi-GO five-door subcompact.
But it’s survived this once before. Can lightning strike twice for the maker of the Bluebird? It’s anybody’s guess. There’s still a market for smaller, more efficient vehicles globally and the 240Z always had its own fan base in the world of sports cars. But… with the shift to more efficient models and a supply chain hampered by shortages, automakers might have too many problems on their hands to roll the dice. This could be the perfect time for Datsun to simply drive off into the sunset, never to be seen again.