Renault-Nissan is poised to launch a range of budget cars

Renault-Nissan is poised to launch a range of budget cars - but officials have stopped short of confirming they will carry the Datsun badge.

Andy Palmer, executive vice-president of Renault-Nissan, confirmed at the Geneva motor show that an announcement about an entry-level car project that could rival the Tata Nano, and the markets it would be sold in, was "weeks away".

"We're talking about a range of cars that would provide a value-for-money opportunity in several segments," he said. "I won't use the word cheap, as the customers won't want a cheap car, but they will want value for money, which means quality and good design that they can afford.

"If you look at the number of people on bikes who want to move to move up to a car, the possibilities are enormous. But at the moment there is very little on offer"

Palmer declined to say which markets the cars would be sold in, but conceded that each market would need its own regional specification. He also highlighted the risk of using the car in the emerging Russian market, where part the Lada brand that is part owned by Renault-Nissan is already a success.

"If you look at the price point we're talking about then it could never be a world car," he said. "Besides, building to a car for all world use means introducing compromises. It is better to adapt for local markets."

Asked about the possibility of branding the new cars as Datsuns, Palmer responded: "There's no announcement, but it's an interesting idea."

Jim Holder

Join the debate


6 March 2012

Is there really a need for another brand when they already have Dacia who are supposed to be the budget brand within the group?



It's all about the twisties........

6 March 2012

I'm with you, Teg - what on Earth could Datsun bring that Dacia doesn't already? If Datsun was to be revived, surely it would be better on a 2-seater sports car and a small RWD sedan?

6 March 2012

I have no problem with the idea of old brands being resurrected as such, but it rarely seems to work as a long-term proposition. Many extinct brands are remembered fondly for one or two models, yet some bright spark in a large company seems to think the whole brand is worth bringing back from the grave. The same mentality seems to apply to large companies buying out smaller or struggling brands, with grand plans to return them to their former glories.

After a successful re-launch of the brand, it then seems to occur to the parent company that it needs more than just one or two models to make the whole exercise profitable, so they frantically try to spin off as many variations as possible or add new models which have nothing whatsoever to do with the brand they bought in the first place (yes, BMW, I'm looking at you and what you have done with the Mini brand). So we have another full-range manufacturer cannibalising sales from either the parent company or the industry overall, struggling to sell enough of each model to cover their outlay and further exacerbating the excess capacity problems facing the industry.

A lot of the problem seems to stem from the old-fashioned ways of vehicle retailing. Dealers want more than just one or two cars to sell, to justify the millions they have spent on the new glass-and-steel palaces which the manufacturer insisted upon, so manufacturers feel the need to build a whole model range covering as many segments as possible.

I'm surprised that one of the large conglomerates like VAG or GM hasn't tried to moved to a shared-retailing approach, with one giant showroom complex (something the size of West London Audi) with a separate floor or large area devoted to each brand, like an automotive department store. This would reduce the need for every brand to offer several different models to cover every prospective customer who may walk through the door. As long as the overall family covered each segment adequately, there is a good chance of selling the customer something that will suit them.

6 March 2012

[quote TegTypeR]

Is there really a need for another brand when they already have Dacia who are supposed to be the budget brand within the group?


I presume Datsun would be better received in Japan?

6 March 2012

[quote newtoybox]I presume Datsun would be better received in Japan[/quote]

I imagine you are right, but it would be nice to see the name return here in the UK. Maybe we could have the 370Z as a Datsun instead, and we could have other similar sportscars. How about a new Datsun 200ZX to rival the Toyota GT-86 and Subaru BRZ?

6 March 2012

Will they be selling mid size and D segment cars?

Not just citycars and SUVs?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Audi A7 front
    First Drive
    14 March 2018
    The new Audi A7 Sportback looks the part, but how does the new Mercedes-Benz CLS rival cope on UK roads? We find out