Nissan Brand History
Nissan Brand History information offered by Sid Dillon. Our Lincoln, Omaha, Bellevue, Council Bluffs, and Kearney, NE customers buy new Nissan models here.
The Nissan Brand’s History – The 1914 DAT Car – To Datsun – To Nissan Motor Corporation
In 1914, a small, boxy passenger car debuted in Japan called the DAT Car. Over the next two decades, this vehicle would be the inspiration for several company mergers and acquisitions and eventually lead to the establishment of Nissan. On June 1, 1934, the brilliant Yoshisuke Aikawa founded Nissan Motor Corporation, Limited. He had big plans for the company, including mass-producing 15,000 vehicles per year, but he never imagined the impact that he would have on the automotive industry and the world.
1908 Yoshisuke Aikawa – Nissan Founder – The Quest Begins in Detroit, Michigan
Nissan, a Japanese automaker, has had American roots from its inception. In 1908, long before he founded Nissan Motor Co., Yoshisuke Aikawa traveled to Detroit, Michigan, the automobile capital of the world, and was deeply inspired by what he saw. Aikawa partnered with American engineer, William R. Gorham to use cutting-edge machinery and processes from the United States. It was this automotive technology that helped build the Datsun Type 15, the first mass-produced vehicle in Japan in 1937. The Datsun was named after its predecessor, the DAT Car, to mean the “Son of DAT,” but since “son” also means “loss” in Japanese, the last syllable was changed to “sun.”
1958 The First Datsun Introduced in the United States – The Start of Datsun U.S.A.
While America heavily influenced the Datsun, it would not arrive on United States soil until the late 1950’s, when Nissan decided to expand into the global market. The Datsun 1000 Sedan was the first vehicle introduced into the U.S. Market in 1958, with the first Datsun compact pickup arriving in 1959, firmly establishing Datsun in the United States.
1960 Nissan Motor Corporation is established in California – Sales Exceed 1 Million!
America quickly responded to the unique automotive styling of the Nissan brand. In 1960, Nissan Motor Corporation was established in Gardena, California. With the implementation of sports cars like the Datsun Fairlady 1200 Roadster and American-styled family vehicles like the Datsun 510 Sedan, it didn’t take long for Datsun to sell one million vehicles and Nissan to become the top vehicle importer in the United States.
1970s – Extended Cab Pickup Truck Nissan King Cab® – A 50mpg Car Sold In The US
During the late 1970’s, Nissan continued to innovate and bring stylish, efficient vehicles that appealed to the American driver. In 1977, they brought us the first extended cab pickup, the King Cab®, for hardworking Americans. A year later in 1978, in the midst of an energy crisis, they introduced the Datsun B210GX®, the first Nissan vehicle sold in the U.S. to get over 50 miles per gallon on the highway so Americans could spend less money on gas.
1980s Nissan Design International Takes The Stage – Nissan Motor Manufacturing
In hopes of bringing more American style and concepts to Nissan vehicles, Nissan opened Nissan Design International in 1979. Since then, the NDI has been responsible for the design of many well-known and successful Nissan vehicles like the Altima, Xterra, and Pathfinder. Further establishing their roots here and fulfilling the growing demand for Nissan vehicles in the U.S., Nissan opened the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation in Smyrna, Tennessee. Here began the change to market themselves with Nissan badging to produce vehicles like the first Nissan truck (later inspiring the TITAN and Frontier) in 1983 and the Nissan Sentra in 1985.
1989 Nissan Introduces Infiniti – Their Luxury Division – Over 1 Million US Produced Nissan Vehicles
By the end of the 1980’s, Nissan had produced one million vehicles on American soil. In 1989, they launched Infiniti, their luxury division. And in 1990, solidifying their importance in the next decade, Nissan North America, Inc. was born in California. California became an important place for Nissan in the 90’s. In 1991, Nissan won its first EPA environmental award for lending its Alternative Fuel Vehicle to a testing program in California. And of course, the Nissan Frontier, Xterra, and Pathfinder starred as the official vehicles of the Los Angeles County Lifeguards in the hit television phenomenon, “Baywatch.”
2000 to ’09 Nissan Doubles Its Model Lineup – Trucks, Hybrids, The Leaf® Electric
After signing a global alliance agreement with Renault SA in 1999, Nissan headed into the 21st century with bigger plans than Aikawa could have ever imagined. During 2000-2009 Nissan nearly doubled its lineup of models, bringing us the first full-size truck, the Nissan TITAN® and the first hybrid, the Nissan Altima® Hybrid. In 2010, Nissan introduced its biggest innovation yet, the LEAF®, the first mass-produced 100% electric vehicle with zero emissions.
From DAT to the Leaf® – Nissan Innovation Has Changed The Industry and The World!
Nissan believes that cars have the power to change the world, in the same way that the DAT Car changed the automotive industry and brought us Nissan. They continue to constantly innovate and find exciting ways to enhance performance, efficiency, style, safety, and value.