For all intents and purposes, Datsun is simply a division of Nissan re-launched in the mid-2010s to market budget vehicles to emerging markets around the world.
Here in South Africa, though, Datsun is a name that evokes nostalgia, throwing back to a time when cars were sleek, solid, and simple. The celebrated Nissan 1400 bakkie was once branded as a Datsun 1200 or Datsun 120Y, and many of them were manufactured locally at the Rosslyn factory in Pretoria.
Datsun enjoyed immense popularity in SA between the 60s and 80s, before the name was dropped in favour of Nissan. Classic Datsuns are still held in high regard by petrolheads, and many grandfathers have passed their old coupes down through the generations. Sadly, units in good condition are quite hard to come by these days.
Since the re-launch, however, the Datsun Go and Datsun Go+ have proven to be just what South Africa needs: budget-friendly hatchbacks backed by Nissan’s excellent service and widespread dealer network.