For a second time in less than 40 years, Nissan could phase out its Datsun brand as a part of its restructuring plan, Bloomberg reports. The automaker was facing strong financial headwinds even before the coronavirus pandemic, ones that worsened immediately following the dramatic ouster of Renault-Nissan president Carlos Ghosn. The cost-cutting efforts are part of a three-year turnaround plan scheduled to be revealed on May 28, along with the company’s financial results.
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The plan will reportedly include reductions in marketing and research, and will also phase out the Datsun brand, Bloomberg notes, which itself was reanimated in 2013 as a budget brand for India, Russia and several other developing markets. Instead, the plan will see a greater focus on the Infiniti brand, which had taken some damage over the past several years, including a withdrawal from Europe and a shortage of new models.
Datsun experienced solid growth during the first two years of its reboot but was unseen in North America, of course—and thus difficult to get a sense of from here. The volume strategy actually worked, up until it ran out of steam around 2017.
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Reports of Datsun’s impending demise have circulated for the past half-year, as Nissan’s finances took a major hit during the summer of 2019, prompting layoffs of 12,500 workers globally and plans to cut 10% of its lineup. But the coronavirus crisis facing automakers has likely hastened plans to phase out the brand.