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History of Nissan

Japanese automaker Nissan traces its lineage to the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works, which was founded in 1911. The manufacturer produced the DAT, its first car, in 1914. The name is an acronym that consists of the first letters of the last names of the company’s three original investors. The automaker named its next line of vehicles Datson, which denotes son of DAT. A series of mergers over the subsequent two decades culminated in the creation of the Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in 1934. The company’s new name was derived from its trade symbol, Ni-San, on the Japanese stock market. Nissan initially marketed vehicles under the Datsun brand name, changing “son” to “sun” because the former can have a negative meaning in Japanese.

After the Second World War, the automaker began marketing the Datsun brand worldwide. Nissan entered into a partnership agreement with the UK-based Austin Motors. One notable result of this collaborative effort was the Datsun 1000, which featured the Austin platform. It was one of the first Nissan products sold in the United States in the late 1950s. A merger with the Prince Motor Company in the 1960s enabled Nissan to begin making luxury automobiles. The Datsun brand was very popular throughout the 60s and 70s because of its quality and high-performance vehicles, which included the iconic 240Z sports car. Its popularity was also driven by the energy crisis of the 1970s and Datsun’s lineup of high gas mileage vehicles.

In 1981, the automaker retired the Datsun brand name in favor of the Nissan moniker. During the ensuing decade, the company built manufacturing plants in the United States and England. The company produced the highly acclaimed Sentra, Maxima, and 300Z automobiles. Although the company’s fortunes languished near the turn of the 21st century, it has returned to prominence with a new vehicle lineup. Marque models include the redesigned Sentra and Altima, the Titan pickup truck, the Murano SUV,  the all-electric Leaf, and the extremely fast GT-R. The automaker is also the parent company of luxury car brand Infiniti.

Nissan has more than 155,000 workers worldwide who produce over 4 million vehicles each year. The company has manufacturing and production facilities in 18 countries. Nissan has shared technology alliances with Daimler and Renault. Headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, the company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Nissan’s profits exceeded $4 billion in 2011.