Datsun South Africa


Nissan Announces Return of Iconic Datsun Brand to South Africa

  • Lead-off model to be a new passenger vehicle
  • Introduction to South Africa anticipated in 2014


ROSSLYN, South Africa (February 22, 2013)—Nissan South Africa (Proprietary) Ltd.(NSA) today announced that the Datsun brand is set to return to South Africa. The first model to be introduced in South Africa will be a new passenger vehicle that will be launched by the end of 2014.

This follows a global decision in 2010 to re-introduce the Datsun brand as part of the company’s ambitious Nissan Power 88 mid-term plan to achieve 8 percent of the global market share and 8 percent operating profit by fiscal year 2016.

“The return of Datsun is integral to our expansion in fast-growing markets where there is a mushrooming upwardly-mobile segment,” said Vincent Cobee, corporate vice president at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.  “Datsun’s key values – accessible, reliable and modern – are designed to accommodate the needs and aspirations of this target group, just as it did for similarly optimistic customers in Japan, America and a large part of the world during most of the 20th century.”

The Datsun brand was phased out in 1981 when it was integrated with Nissan branding as the company expanded globally. Datsun is to be re-established with a strong independent brand identity, alongside the Nissan and Infiniti brands.

“Following Infiniti’s launch last year, we are delighted that South Africa is also a destination of choice for the Datsun brand,” said Mike Whitfield, managing director of NSA. “Datsun enjoyed a proud heritage in the country after the Bluebird made its debut at the Pretoria Show in 1958, the 120Y and SSS models were household names, before going on to become the number one brand between 1976 and 1978.”

While NSA currently plans to initiate Datsun brand sales with one passenger vehicle model, it is anticipated that a broader range of Datsun vehicles will be available in the future.

“Our aim is to deliver new and exciting products that meet local customer needs assured by global Japanese OEM (original equipment manufacturer) expertise and technology,” said Cobee.

The distinctive Datsun logo, he said, embodies the brand’s styling identity.

“The inner portion of the logo preserves the essence of the original Datsun logo with a blue bar striking through the rising sun. This reflects the founding spirit of ‘sincerity leads to success’,” explained Cobee. “The rising sun represents the energy of rising towards a better tomorrow and the striking blue bar represents pure integrity built into providing innovative solutions.  The outer shape represents the edge and modernity of the new Datsun brand.  The blue brand color is embedded in our heritage which is rooted in sincerity and trustworthiness.”

The brand is also to be introduced in India, Indonesia and Russia in 2014.

Datsun History

Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) almost a century ago in 1914. The word DAT means ‘lightning-fast’ in Japanese but is also a reference to the three financiers who supported the business at the time – namely Mssrs. Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi – an acronym of the first letter of each name. Using the same logic, it was promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short.

In 1933, Nissan’s founding father Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business with a vision of “mobility for all”. The introduction of a light-weight, economical yet resilient car to meet the aspirations of young Japanese people in the early 1930s was named the ‘son of DAT’ – Datson – which later changed to Datsun. Local engineering and mass-production made the founder’s dream a reality.