Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
2 minute read
25 Apr 2022
7:10 am

No more Go: Nissan puts Datsun back into storage

Charl Bosch

South African presence likely to end before the end of the year as supply dries up.

Revived in 2013 after being shelved in 1986, the Datsun has officially been put into storage once again.

Speculation dating back to 2019 surrounding the axing of the Datsun marque has officially been confirmed, according to reports from India.

The brand, whose future had been in doubt ever since the restructuring of parent company Nissan following the arrest of its former CEO, Carlos Ghosn, four years ago, reportedly completed assembly of its final car this past week in a move that officially ends a nine-year spell since its revival as a manufacturer of low-cost vehicles aimed at developing markets.

According to Autocar India, the Chennai plant, which produced the Go, Go+, Cross and redi-Go, the latter being the twin of the Renault Kwid, offloaded an example of the latter on Wednesday (20 April), before an official statement by Nissan confirmed what many had been expecting since the emergence of a Reuters report in 2019 pertaining the brand’s axing.

Datsun shelved once again
The pre-facelift Datsun Go became infamous for lacking any centre safety features.

“As part of Nissan’s global transformation strategy, the company is focusing on core models and segments that bring the most benefit to customers, dealer partners and the business,” an extract of the statement obtained by the publication read.

Once a stellar performer in South Africa despite widescale criticism of the Go’s lack of safety features at its launch in 2015, seemingly redressed with a facelift in 2018 and inclusion of a CVT the following year, the brand never achieved success in its home market with collective Indian sales last year of 4 296 units.

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A further indication of its imminent downfall was the decision to market the Magnite as a Nissan instead of what would have been Datsun’s flagship model above the SUV-inspired Cross spun-off of the Go+.

Datsun shelved once again
The seven-seat Go+ upped the Datsun line-up to two models in 2016.

Locally, Datsun shifted 2 732 vehicles last year, a far cray from the almost 1 000 a month it was moving at one stage.

Since March this year, only 48 units have been sold compared to the Kwid’s 2 701 and the 869 posted by its other rival, the also Indian made Suzuki S-Presso.

The apparent end of the brand in India leaves South Africa as the sole original target market after the shutting of factories and therefore end of sales in Russia and Indonesia two years ago due in added part to Covid-19.

Datsun shelved once again
The CVT equipped Go introduced in 2019.

At the time, Bloomberg reported that the end of Datsun would allow Nissan to save $2.8-billion as projections drawn-up by Ghosn shortly after Datsun’s revival never materialised.

For now, both the Go and Go+ remain available in South Africa, but expect sales to continue to tumble as stock runs-out.

While no official announcement from Nissan South Africa has been made on the future of Datsun, chances are it will enter its second hiatus, the first having been in 1986 when attention shifted entirely to Nissan, before the end this year.