The news this month is that the Datsun brand is set for a relaunch. If you’re of a certain age you may have fond (or not so fond) memories of the Datsun, one of the first Japanese car brands to be offered in the UK, US and Australia.

A Datsun was a very reasonably priced car many people ran into the ground. It had a reputation for being, well, affordable, and during the oil crisis in the 1970s was very popular as it ran on the smell of an oily rag. Of course since then Japanese building quality has improved just a little and people have forgotten what Japanese cars used to be like.

Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn announced back in May that the company was planning on relaunching the Datsun brand, initially into emerging markets such as China and India, and an image of the proposed new vehicle was released just a few days ago. Datsun disappeared from view in 1981 when Nissan decided to market cars under their own name.

Since then they’ve launched their upmarket brand, Infiniti, and Ghosn sees the Datsun brand as a way of grabbing a share of the expanding demand for affordable cars in emerging markets. The company also plans on introducing the brand into South Africa, Indonesia and Russia.

The born-again Datsun will leverage new technology which parent Nissan will install in the new models at a very low price point. Pricing will be very competitive indeed, with the company announcing a price point of less than $6,600. In emerging markets Nissan does not have passenger vehicles at the low price end, which accounts for around 40% of the market.

Nissan are planning to cover all price markets, with Datsun at the lower end, Nissan in the middle and Infiniti at the upper end. Datsun will relaunch first in India, with a five door hatchback scheduled to go on sale there in 2014.

We don’t know yet whether Datsun will be making an appearance in the Australian market.

What’s old is new again – part II

Back in Australia, Professor Veena Sahajwalla at the University of NSW, perhaps best known for her appearances on the panel of ABC TV show The New Inventors, is developing a way to make sure old cars are better recycled than they are at present.

Of the 750,000+ cars that are sent to the wreckers in Australia every year, around 110kgs of glass and plastic per car are not recycled and generally end up in landfill. Prof Sahajwalla and her industry partner Arrium (previously OneSteel) are now developing a process to recycle glass and plastic from old cars into new materials.

Her last invention was also involved with reusing waste products from old cars – in this case a process that allows old tyres to be used as a substitute for coke – a source of carbon for electric arc furnaces.

The process has already diverted over a million old tyres from landfill and in addition has boosted efficiency and cut power consumption at Arrium plants.

Whether you’re planning on buying the new Datsun if it comes to Australia, or just ‘moving on’ your old wheels, give us a call for a car finance quote.