Nissan to Drop Datsun Brand?

Nissan Motor Co. is likely to scrap its entry-level Datsun brand as part of a global effort to cut costs and improve profits, sources tell Reuters.

The sources, who Reuters says have direct knowledge of the plan, say the company will announce details about the scheme later this month. The moves will include reducing production capacity and dropping certain unprofitable models.

The campaign reverses the sales-at-any-cost style of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Critics say his strategy boosted volume, often through discounted sales to fleets, but it also hurt profits and cheapened the Nissan brand.

Nissan used the Datsun name on its products sold outside the U.S. for nearly 30 years before phasing out the marque in 1986. Nissan resurrected the nameplate in 2013 for a line of low-cost models for emerging markets.

Since then, Nissan has produced Datsun models in Indonesia, India and Russia. But a source tells Reuters that the brand’s sales have cannibalized demand for pricier Nissan-brand vehicles.

Last month Automotive News said Nissan also will prune its lineup of Titan fullsize pickup trucks to eliminate unprofitable variants, include single-cab and diesel models.

Nissan is reviewing operations of all its assembly plants except those in China too, Reuters says. A source indicates the company may drop a shift and/or remove production lines at some locations to align capacity with sustainable sales targets.