As you might have read elsewhere on this website, Nissan is reviving the Datsun brand, initially in Indonesia, Russia and India.
The 13 January 1972 issue of Autocar carried a multi-page advertising feature for Datsun, which was still a relatively new brand in this country at the time.
Part of this feature was an article catchily titled ‘Datsun’s sales policy in the UK’ by John Pinkerton, who had joined Datsun UK as sales director when the company was formed.
Despite the rather dry title, there are some interesting nuggets of information in his article. I didn’t know, for example, that Datsun had a troubled birth in this country: ‘Datsun cars were shown in the United Kingdom for the first time at the motor show in 1968. The concessionaire at that time was a sub-tenant of NSU, the German car importer, at premises at Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.
‘After NSU in Germany merged with Audi, the future of the then separate franchises of NSU were not clear. The development of Datsun was very dependent on the future of the NSU premises at Shoreham and was held in abeyance and this situation was consequently a reason why Nissan-Datsun UK had no real development.
‘The NSU concession and the premises at Shoreham were finally bought and Nissan-Datsun went into liquidation and renounced the Datsun franchise. The new concessionaire was appointed under the name Datsun UK Ltd, located on the Churchill Estate at Lancing, with offices in Worthing.’
Pinkerton goes on to lay out Datsun’s sales policy. ‘It can be expressed in one sentence – planned, progressive expansion at a steady controlled rate. Datsun UK Ltd was formed at the end of 1970 and became operational in March/April 1971. We expected to sell in our first year – March/April 1971 to March/April 1972 – 12,000 to 13,000 cars.
‘Datsun UK has introduced nearly a whole range of cars in the period. The Datsun franchise offers one of the most comprehensive ranges in the UK. It can satisfy every customer need from the 100A Cherry, 988cc, front wheel drive for £766 for the standard model to the well-known 240Z sports.’