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$3,000 Nissan: Nissan’s Gamble On $3,000 Model

October 2, 2012 by  

$3,000 Nissan: Nissan’s Gamble On $3,000 Model, Rows of classic Datsuns are on display in Nissan’s DNA Car Garage in Japan. After a three-decade hiatus the company is relaunching the brand with low-cost cars aimed at emerging markets. WSJ’s Chester Dawson reports from Zama, Japan.

ATSUGI, Japan—It is the car that baby boomers may remember as much for its compact chic as for its slogan (“Datsun, We Are Driven!”). Now, a new version of this storied brand may get more attention for something else: its price tag.

In a bold move into the auto industry’s fastest-growing category—emerging-market countries—Nissan Motor Co. is planning a revival to this Beatles-era star that might surprise its fans. According to interviews with Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, and other company executives, the rebooted car will appear in these countries as bare-boned as any rival has tried.

And Nissan is hoping to set new lows for pricing for a global auto maker, offering the cheapest Datsun model for about $3,000 to $5,000. The lowest price is nearly a third the price of its most inexpensive car, the $8,000 Tsuru compact sold in Mexico. In revealing new details to The Wall Street Journal about the tightly controlled project, Mr. Ghosn said the company was committed to offering six Datsun vehicles, due out beginning in 2014, at a price range lower than all but a handful of smaller car makers in China and India specializing in mini autos.

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