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Nissan looking to axe Datsun, close assembly lines

This article is more than 12 months old

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN Nissan is likely to axe its Datsun brand, drop some unprofitable products and close a number of assembly lines worldwide as it seeks to boost profits by getting smaller, two company sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Known internally as the "performance recovery plan", the proposed steps mark a sharp break with Nissan's strategy under ousted leader Carlos Ghosn, who pursued ambitious vehicle sales targets in the United States and other markets.

The sources said Nissan will likely kill loss-making variants for the Titan full-sized pickup. Unprofitable variants include the single-cab and diesel versions.

A planned shuttering of underutilised production lines will most probably hit plants in emerging markets building Datsun and other small cars hardest, they added.

The new steps follow plans unveiled in July to cut headcount by 12,500 globally by early 2023 and which also flagged cuts to production capacity. At the time, then-chief executive Hiroto Saikawa said 14 facilities would be affected.

The Datsun brand - revived for emerging markets under Mr Ghosn after being phased out in the 1980s - will likely bear the brunt of the restructuring. The models are manufactured in Indonesia, India and Russia.

The sources said problems emerged after Nissan began deploying the no-frills cars in 2014 in small markets such as Indonesia, India, Russia and South Africa where it also sells vehicles under its mainstay Nissan brand.

In Indonesia, for example, after a relatively good start, Datsun cars soon began eating into Nissan sales.