“Is that an old Ferrari!?”
My son pointed and loudly exclaimed to anyone within earshot that he had spotted some sort of rare Prancing Horse. In reality, the car that captured his attention was a beautiful Datsun 240Z.
He hadn’t even heard of Datsun, and he couldn’t hide his disappointment. I explained that the old 240Z certainly shares some looks with a Ferrari GTO, or even a Jaguar E-Type, but the car really defined the affordable sports car market in the United States and was, and still is, unmistakably Datsun.
Then I told him that Datsun isn’t around anymore.
“Well, I think Datsun should come back,” he said.
Datsun is indeed coming back, though in a much different way than my son in mind.
While the 240Z was definitely a low-cost option compared with the Jaguars and Ferraris of the day, it wasn’t marketed as an ultra-cheap mode of transportation. According to Automotive News, that’s the direction the new Datsuns will take.
And only in India, and other developing markets.
According to the article, Nissan will unveil the first car from the back-from-the-dead Datsun brand this week in India.
With the Datsun hatchback and other Datsun models to follow over the next three years—one of which could be priced as low as $4,000 (240,000 rupees) if Nissan can meet its aggressive manufacturing cost objectives—Nissan is treading ever so closer to the ultra-low-cost car market. [sic]
The ultra-low-cost car market is a dangerous place for automakers to play. Nissan wanted in on the game, but didn’t want to put its brand at risk. With Datsun sitting unused, but still recognizable across the world, it makes sense to sacrifice the brand in the name of cheap cars.
It’s unfortunate that means there’s no possibility of a Stateside modern Datsun Z, priced lower than the new Nissan 370Z. That’s what the used market is for, though. If one of the sleek old Datsuns looks good to you, hit up the used listings and go shop for one! Just be warned: They’re getting hard to find.
Would you want to see ultra-cheap new Datsuns for sale in the United States?