Nissan's Datsun brand is re-born after more than 30 years

Nissan's Carlos Ghosn explains why the Datsun is being reborn at a launch event in New Delhi

It was one of the marques that helped Japanese carmakers establish themselves in Europe and the US.

In the 1970s, the fuel efficient Datsun became the car of choice for the everyday motorist fed up with unreliable gas-guzzlers.

Now, more than 30 years after Nissan decided to kill off the brand, the Datsun has been reborn.

On Monday, a new model was unveiled in India aimed at first-timers keen to get on the car-owning ladder.

The new 1.2-litre five-seat hatchback will go on sale in India next year for under 400,000 rupees ($6,670; £4,500). It will also be sold in Indonesia and Russia.

The marque's new website says Datsun is the brand of "the Risers. Young Risers in high-growth markets who are ahead of the curve".

The new car's white and modern styling contrasts starkly with the dated, square design of old when the most popular colours were a washed-out orange, red or brown.

The first Dat-Car (Dat-GO in Japanese) was launched in 1914. It was named after the first initials of the company's three investors, and literally means 'Lightning fast'.

After selling 20 million cars in 190 countries around the world, the Datsun brand was phased out from 1981 and Nissan became the primary name for the company globally.

But, speaking at the launch of the new Datsun Go in New Delhi, Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault-Nissan declared: "The Datsun is back... Datsun will help many realise the dream of a car ownership."

Sales challenge

Like many car manufacturers, Nissan has faced weak markets in Europe and the US and is targeting emerging economies with low-price, entry-level models

However, the Datsun enters the Indian market at a tough time. Sales of passenger cars fell by 10% in the April-June quarter from the previous year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Datsun car in rally race Back in 1980, Datsun's marketing liked to emphasise its racy image

Consumers in India have been hit by a slowing economy and higher interest rates.

But Nissan hopes all its brands - Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun - will have 10% of market share in India by 2016, said Mr Ghosn.

Last year, Nissan had less than a 2% share of the 1.89 million cars sold in India. The market leader, Suzuki-controlled Maruti, had more than 40%, according to SIAM.

The new Datsun will be assembled at the Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai, in the south east of India.

If all goes to plan, once Nissan has succeeded in India, Russia and Indonesia, the company will target the emerging middle class car-buyers in the Middle East and South America, Mr Ghosn said.

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