What Was Nissan Before?

Nihon Sangyo, which primarily deals in foundries and auto parts, made its debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1933 under the ticker name NISSAN. From there, Nissan grew beyond its Japanese origins and entered the United States formally as Datsun in 1958.


Datsun: Up until 1983, Nissan vehicles were offered under the Datsun nameplate in the majority of export markets. The Nissan brand gradually replaced the Datsun brand beginning in 1984. Nissan and Datsun branding were present on every automobile in 1984, but the Datsun name was fully withdrawn in 1985. Nissan revived Datsun as an emerging market-focused brand in July 2013. Nissan, however, stopped selling cars with the Datsun nameplate in 2022 as a result of slow sales.

Nissan has offered its high-end vehicles under the Infiniti name since 1989. Infiniti relocated its corporate headquarters to Hong Kong in 2012, where it is registered as Infiniti Global Limited. Roland Krueger, a former executive at BMW, is its president. The Skyline (rebadged as the Infiniti Q50 for the Japanese market) and Fuga (rebadged as the Infiniti Q70) were sold with the Infiniti insignia from 2014 to 2020.

Nissan Motorsport International Limited is known as Nismo, the company’s in-house tuning facility. Nissan is repositioning Nismo as their performance brand.

The “classic” Datsun emblem is based on the Japanese flag and the moniker “Land of the Rising Sun” for Japan.


Dat Motorcar Co. chose the name “Datson” for their new tiny car in 1931, indicating the new automobile’s smaller size in comparison to the bigger DAT vehicle currently in production. Since “son” also implies “loss” (Sun son) in Japanese, the name “Datson” was altered to “Datsun” after Nissan acquired control of DAT in 1934. Additionally, the name Datsun: Dattosan was adopted (datsutosan, Dattosan). The 510, Fairlady roadsters, Z and ZX coupes, and the Datsun moniker are recognized around the world.

Recall Datsun? It’s Resurfacing From the Rubbish Piles

You likely know about Datsun if you loved or were a car enthusiast in the 1960s and 1970s. A new generation of shoppers from other countries will also soon be aware of it.

Doesn’t seem familiar. Datsun existed prior to Toyota, of course. Its first automobiles were put up for sale in Japan in 1931, five years ahead of Toyota.

Up until Nissan Motor Company, the owner of Datsun, controversially dropped the Datsun brand in favor of its own in 1986, the company was a significant player in the worldwide auto industry.

Nissan announced on Tuesday that it would resurrect the Datsun brand for a series of affordable small cars that would be offered for sale in Russia, India, and Indonesia. Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan/Renault, made the news while on a visit to Jakarta. Along with Nissan and Infiniti, Ghosn wants Datsun to become Nissan’s third international brand.

Nissan can probably avoid the problems it ran into in the US when Datsun was kicked out in 1981 by sticking to new models for emerging countries.

One of the most noteworthy branding decisions in the history of the auto industry was Nissan’s choice to rename Datsun to Nissan. Datsun had been selling cars in the United States since 1958, when Nissan dispatched two executives to aid in increasing sales and brand recognition.

Like Toyota, Datsun started off slowly but acquired popularity thanks to the Z sports car, currently regarded as a classic, and the fuel-efficient B-210 small (marketed as the Bluebird internationally). Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple, was one of its prominent supporters and even made an appearance in a Datsun ad.

Therefore, when the corporation started the process of changing its American dealerships and badges to Nissan, many owners were taken aback. It was a well-known brand in Japan, where its parent business was a major player in the industry.

However, Nissan was not well-known in the United States, and the change caused a great deal of confusion among American automobile buyers. It took time for Americans to get used to saying Nissan. According to several analysts, the decision likely cost Nissan crucial time in its battle with Toyota and Honda.

There are now no plans to sell the new Datsuns in the United States, but that may change depending on how well they perform in the European and UK markets.

Even if he (and the automobiles) won’t look like this, The Woz is still alive and well to star in another commercial.

The Nissan Motor Company

DAT changed its name to Nissan Motor Company, Ltd. in 1933. However, even when the company’s automobiles were initially introduced to American consumers in 1958, the majority of them still carried the Datsun label. According to historians, the company’s readiness to separate the automobiles sold there from its support of Japan’s World War II operations may have led to the practice.

established Nissan Motor Company

Nissan Motor Company becomes the official name of the Tokyo-based Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha (Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) on June 1, 1934.

In December 1933, Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha was founded. The organization’s new name, approved in June 1934, was an acronym for Nippon Sangyo, a “zaibatsu” (or holding company) owned by Yoshisuke Aikawa, the creator of Tobata. In April 1935, Nissan built its first Datsun at its Yokohama plant. The Datsun is a modernized version of the 1914 Dat Car, a compact, boxy passenger car created by Masujiro Hashimoto. In the same year, the company started exporting cars to Australia. Nissan completely switched from manufacturing small passenger cars to making trucks and military vehicles starting in 1938 and continuing during World War II. The majority of Nissan’s industrial operations were taken over by Allied occupation forces in 1945, and Nissan didn’t fully regain control until ten years later.

Nissan was the first Japanese carmaker to receive the Deming Prize for superior engineering in 1960. Nissan sales in Japan and abroad were boosted by new Datsun models such the Bluebird (1959), Cedric (1960), and Sunny (1966), and the business grew tremendously throughout the 1960s.

Rising exports of reasonably priced, fuel-efficient Japanese cars were spurred by the energy crises of the following decade: The 1973 fuel economy testing conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency yielded the highest rating for the third-generation Sunny. Nissan has grown its international operations to the point where it currently has manufacturing and assembly facilities in as many as 17 different nations thanks to success in the US and other markets. Nissan, which stopped using the Datsun name in the middle of the 1980s, is now one of Japan’s biggest automakers. The company, which struggled in the late 1990s, turned things around by forming a partnership with French automaker Renault, revamping its Infiniti luxury car brand, and introducing the Titan pickup truck along with updated versions of the iconic Z sports car and mid-size Altima sedan.

What automaker existed before Nissan?

Masujiro Hashimoto launched Nissan as Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works in 1911, marking the beginning of the company. The DAT, an acronym of the initials of the three investing partners, was the company’s first vehicle three years later. Throughout the 1920s, Nissan underwent a number of name changes; Nissan Motor Company wasn’t used for the first time until 1934.

In 1931, Nihon Sangyou, or Japan Industries, united with Nissan Motor Company to form Nissan. Yoshisuke Aikawa, the CEO of Nihon Sangyou, was eager to launch the company’s auto business, so when other owners were less enthusiastic, Aikawa bought them out and started concentrating on constructing Nissan production facilities.

Nissan kept producing the Datsun cars they had been making for years, along with trucks and aircraft for the Japanese military. Nissan collaborated with a number of automakers to produce cars for them after the war, including Austin Motor Company in the 1950s and 1960s and a merger with Prince Motor Company in 1966, which added models to the Nissan roster that are still produced today.

Following the conclusion of the Korean War, anti-communist emotions made 1953 a pivotal year in Nissan’s history. The labor union at Nissan reacted harshly, firing hundreds of employees and even ordering the arrest of union officials. Eventually, a new union emerged, aiding Nissan in its rapid technological expansion.

When Nissan realized that the little Datsun would fill a void in the Australian and US auto markets, it began to expand globally. Nissan debuted vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1958 before establishing a US subsidiary in 1960. By generating more than 400,000 automobiles annually by 2007, a plant that was constructed in England became the highest-producing facility in Europe. Nissan sells automobiles all around the world and also operates plants there. Nissan sells more than 500,000 vehicles annually in China, where it is particularly well-liked.

Since its founding more than a century ago, Nissan has been among the most well-known and cutting-edge companies in the world. Nissan intends to stay at the forefront of technology and superior design for many years to come.

Nissan’s predecessor to Datsun:

Nissan, the parent corporation of the Datsun brand, is having difficulties. However, Nissan and the rest of the global automotive industry were already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic catastrophe hit.

The Carlos Ghosn scandal—which involved the business’s former boss—deeply embroiled Nissan at the start of 2020, and the ongoing global containment has unavoidably made matters worse for the company.

Nissan intends to reduce its model lineup in the UK and Europe and save about PS2 billion in fixed expenditures for marketing, research, and other important areas. Nissan will further reduce the reach of the brand by closing a factory in Barcelona and removing Datsun from Russia (it remains in India, for example, however).

The DAT car, the predecessor of today’s Nissan, was produced by Tokyo’s Kaishinsha Motorcar Works (KMW) in 1914, before Datsun was even created. The acronym of the surnames of the three founding partners of KMW became the name of the new 1914 DAT automobile.

The first Datsun automobiles were produced in 1931, and from 1958 to 1986, Nissan exported what it called Datsun automobiles. The name “Datson,” chosen by the DAT Motorcar Company in 1931, alluded to the new model’s smaller size when compared to the bigger DAT vehicle currently in production. Since “son” also has a pejorative connotation in Japanese, denoting “loss,” and because the (rising) sun is represented in Japan’s national flag, the name Datson was changed to “Datsun” after Nissan acquired control of DAT in 1934.

Nissan has phased out the Datsun name in favor of its own brand by 1986 (1984 in the UK). The Worthing-based former British NSU importer, secretive businessman Octav Botner, switched allegiance from the struggling German marque to the unheard-of Japanese automaker in 1968, marking the start of Datsun imports into Great Britain.

By 1974, Botner’s cheap and well-liked Sunny and Cherry models had assisted Datsun in overtaking previous import leaders Fiat, Renault, and Volkswagen in the sales rankings, knocking them down the list and hobbling domestic market leader British Leyland. British automobile owners were growing weary of the subpar quality and boring goods supplied by the local BL, Ford, Vauxhall, and Chrysler brands. Datsun’s winning combination of affordable pricing, generous standard specifications, and strong reliability appealed to them.

The Nissan emblem began to progressively emerge on Datsun-branded vehicles by the early 1980s, and Datsun branding was finally phased out; the Micra, which debuted in the UK in June 1983, was the final new model to do so. Although it persisted elsewhere until 1986, Datsun branding was fully gone from Britain by the end of 1984.

In June 2013, Nissan re-launched the Datsun moniker as a cheap, low-cost brand, selling basic vehicles designed primarily for emerging nations including India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, and South Africa. This was done to respond to shifting global needs.

In order to secure its future, Nissan is currently restructuring. It intends to concentrate on more lucrative regions, such as the United States and China, as well as more expensive products, particularly through its upscale Infiniti division (already abandoned in Europe in 2019). To restart its business in Europe, Nissan will launch additional SUVs and electric cars using the technologies of Alliance partner Renault.

Here are ten notable models from Datsun’s most exuberant years, which are currently receiving substantial media attention.