TOKYO -- In a further strategic shift following the departure of Carlos Ghosn as chairman, Nissan Motor will stop producing its Datsun compact car in Indonesia and Russia from next year, Nikkei has learned.
The decision comes as Makoto Uchida replaces Hiroto Saikawa as Nissan's chief executive on Sunday.
Under Ghosn’s leadership, Datsun has been marketed over the past six years as an affordable compact for emerging markets.
Datsuns have been made in India, Indonesia and Russia, partly under contract, and sold in 10 countries.
According to MarkLines, an automotive research company, about 72,000 units were sold in 2018 -- 10% less than in 2017.
Nissan's strategy had been to use Indonesia as its production platform in Southeast Asia. In Russia, AvtoVAZ, a subsidiary of Renault, Nissan's largest shareholder, handles production for sales in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Lebanon.
Sales in Russia in 2018 were approximately 20,000 units -- about 20% down on 2017, and 40% below the peak in 2015. Nissan will end production through AvtoVAZ next year and terminate sales in Russia.
As the popularity of multipurpose sports vehicles increased globally, low-price strategies centered on small cars have delivered disappointing results. The Ghosn-inspired investment in plants in emerging countries has proved unremunerative, and is believed to have hindered the introduction of other models.
While Datsun is symptomatic of many of these issues, it only accounts for 1% of Nissan's sales globally. The brand will live on in India, where it is popular and a new model is planned. Production is also due to begin soon in Pakistan.