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Report: Nissan to ax Datsun brand, unprofitable models

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is looking to shutter its Datsun brand, discontinue unprofitable models and reduce the number of its global assembly lines in a bid to improve profits by streamlining the company, Reuters reported Oct. 23, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The Japanese automaker is reportedly implementing a "performance recovery plan" that veers away from the expansionist strategy of deposed chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The report said Nissan will likely stop producing loss-making variants of its Titan full-size pickup, such as the single-cab and diesel versions. The company is also seeking to reduce production capacity in all markets except China, but sources clarified that there are no plans to close entire facilities nor completely withdraw from a country, the news wire said.

The proposed closure of underused production lines is expected to affect plants in emerging markets like Indonesia, India and Russia the most, according to Reuters. Ghosn revived the Datsun brand for emerging markets after it was first discontinued in the 1980s, the report said.

Nissan will also stop selling heavily discounted vehicles to rental car and fleet operators as the practice is said to have damaged the company's brand image and profitability, Reuters added.

Nissan senior vice president and incoming vice COO Jun Seki and his team are expected to come up with a plan this month although some aspects are still being finalized, the report said.

Nissan did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.