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Published on Fri Oct 28 2022

The History Of The Car Manufacturer, Nissan

Nissan, which sold more than 275,000 electric vehicles in 2013, was the sixth-largest automaker in the world. It is presently the leader in the electric vehicle market.

But how did the Japanese automaker rise to become the leading supplier of electric vehicles? We examine Nissan's lengthy history in this article, from Datsun to the Nissan Leaf.

When did Nissan get started?

Nissan was established in July 1911. However, Masujiro Hashioto founded the first vehicle manufacturer in Japan under the name Kaishinsha Motor Car Works rather than Nissan.

In 1914, the DAT was introduced. Its name, DAT, was derived from the surnames of the investors in the company. Since there wasn't a market for passenger cars in Japan, the firm first focused primarily on producing trucks. They created tiny utility trucks and trucks for the military market.

When business operations resumed after the First World War, they began producing light trucks and cars under the Lila brand.

A smaller automobile known as the Datsun Type 11 was created by DAT Motors in 1931. Datsun was the name given since it was the "son of DAT."

When was the name Nissan first used?

Nihon Sangyo, a holding corporation, was established in 1928 by Yoshisuke Aikawa (also known as Gisuke/Guisuke Ayukawa). The acronym "Nihon Sangyo" was first used on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the 1930s, giving rise to the moniker "Nissan." Nissan "Zaibatsu" was the business name, which also comprised Hitachi and Tobata Casting. Nissan was in charge of the foundries and the auto components industry, but Aikawa didn't start manufacturing cars until 1933.

The Zaibatsu eventually expanded to 74 businesses and ranked fourth in size in Japan during World War II.

DAT Jidosha Seizo joined forces with Tobata Casting in 1931, and the two companies amalgamated in 1933 to form Tobata Casting. It marked the start of Nissan's automotive production because Tobata Casting belonged to Nissan.

What are the brands?


Under the Nissan name, Nissan's popular models are sold all over the globe.


Nissan vehicles were marketed as Datsun in most export regions up until 1983. In 1984, the Nissan brand gradually replaced the Datsun brand. All automobiles had the Datsun and Nissan logos in 1984, and the Datsun name was deleted in 1985. Nissan revived Datsun as a brand aimed at developing economies in July 2013, however, Nissan stopped selling cars with the Datsun name in 2022 due to lackluster sales.


Nissan began selling its upscale vehicles under the Infiniti name in 1989. Infiniti relocated its corporate headquarters to Hong Kong in 2012, where Infiniti Global Limited was established. Former BMW executive Roland Krueger serves as its president. The Skyline (rebadged Infiniti Q50) and Fuga (rebadged Infiniti Q70) for the Japanese market was offered with the Infiniti emblem from 2014 until 2020.


Nissan Motorsport International Limited, or Nismo, is the company's in-house tuning facility. Nissan's performance brand, Nismo, is being repositioned.

The first American ties of Nissan

American engineer William R. Gorham, who had been Kubota's principal designer, had joined DAT. It would impact Nissan's future with Aikawa's trip to Detroit in 1908. Gorham carried out the plan, even though Aikawa had always intended to use cutting-edge American vehicle manufacturing technology. The majority of the equipment and procedures were originally from the United States. The Graham-Paige Company provided a substantial portion of the design plans and manufacturing infrastructure when Nissan began producing larger automobiles under the "Nissan" name in 1937. Additionally, Nissan had a Graham license under which it produced trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles.

According to David Halberstam's 1986 book, The Reckoning, Gorham was the business's "technological creator," and "young Nissan engineers who had never seen him spoke of him like a deity and could explain in full his years at the company and his many achievements."

The 100-day strike

Nissan had a role in the U.S. Army's vehicle production during the Korean War. An anti-communist feeling was present in Japan after the end of the Korean War. Nissan's workers were organized by a powerful and aggressive union, when pay discussions arose, Nissan took a tough stance because the company had financial issues. Several hundred workers were let go after the lockout. Several union leaders were detained by the American occupying forces and the Japanese government.

The union lost because it ran out of money for its strike. Shioji Ichiro was one of the founding members of a new labor union, Ichiro attended Harvard University on a scholarship provided by the American government. He proposed a plan to sacrifice saving 2,000 jobs for salary reductions, a new union contract that placed a premium on productivity adopted Ichiro's suggestion. Nissan "developed quickly based on technical advancements supported-and regularly recommended-by the union" between 1955 and 1973. Ichiro rose to prominence as the head of the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers' Unions and "the most important figure in the right wing of the Japanese labor movement."

New technologies

In 1982, Nissan placed its first robots for final assembly in the Murayama facility, where the then-new March/Micra was put together. The automated process started in the Zama plant in 1984 and later spread to the other Nissan operations.

Since 1946, Nissan has developed electric vehicles on a sporadic basis. After its release in 2010, the Nissan Leaf plug-in battery electric vehicle quickly became the most popular plug-in vehicle worldwide. The Hypermini and Altra came before it. With more than 320,000 all-electric vehicle sales worldwide as of April 2018, Nissan was the largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer until Tesla overtook it.

Partners & Alliances

Nissan and Ford worked together from 1993 to 2002 to advertise the Nissan Quest and the Mercury Villager. Except for a few aesthetic variations, the two minivans were built using the same elements. Nissan released a brand-new Quest in 2004, internally designed and nothing to do with Ford's versions. Nissan reintroduced the Terrano four-wheel drive in 1992; it was mechanically and aesthetically identical to the Ford Maverick. Nissan allied with French company Renault S.A. in 1999 when it had severe financial problems. Over the years, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has developed to the point where Nissan owns 15% of Renault and Renault owns 44.3% of Nissan. 2008 saw the formation of a new alliance that included both Daimler and Renault. The increasing sharing of technology and development costs made possible by this tripartite alliance promotes international cooperation and mutual growth.