What Year Did Datsun Change Its Name To Nissan?

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.


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.

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.

Nissan revives the Datsun brand with the Go vehicle.

Today, Nissan formally brought the Datsun brand back to life after nearly three decades in obscurity.

Before 1984, when Nissan replaced Datsun as the company’s primary automobile brand in the United States (and everywhere by 1986).

Nissan will now, at least initially, utilize the Datsun moniker for a series of low-cost vehicles in emerging regions. The Nissan and Infiniti brands continue to be superior to Datsun.

The new Datsun Go sedan, which was launched in Delhi, India on Monday, was the first new vehicle to feature the once-familiar Datsun brand and circular logo since then. The automobile was unveiled by Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and partner Renault.

The tiny front-drive GO hatchback was created locally and in Japan, and it will be produced at the Renault-Nissan Alliance plant in Oragadam, India. It will go on sale in India at the beginning of the following year for less than 400,000 rupees, or around $6,600, according to the manufacturer. It had a five-speed stick transmission and a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine.

Datsun will create further entry-level vehicles in the future for areas like Indonesia, South Africa, and Russia.

At American vehicle exhibitions earlier this year, Nissan representatives stated that no Datsuns will be sold in the United States. Period.

The sporty Datsun 510 sedan and 240Z coupe that established the brand in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s are not likely to be represented by the Datsuns that will be marketed worldwide. However, they may expand the company’s clientele in expanding markets without tarnishing the Nissan name.

“This is a historic day for Nissan Motor Company as well as for our clients and business associates in some of the markets that are expanding the quickest. It’s also an exciting time for many Indian women and men who have today moved closer to achieving their ambition of owning a car “In revealing the vehicle, Ghosn stated.

The 12-and-a-half-foot-long, five-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback will have a 1.2-liter engine mated with a five-speed manual transmission that Nissan claims provides the best response time and agility in crowded traffic. According to Nissan, the moniker Go is intended to symbolize the aspirations of the expanding middle class in India. As a result, the little car has a docking station for smartphones that enables access to music and photo storage.

According to Nissan, the new vehicle’s moniker was motivated by the DAT-GO, the brand’s debut automobile from Japan in 1914. In the 1930s, Nissan Heavy Industries acquired the business.

The company’s choice to shed the Datsun brand name in the 1980s was an extremely costly endeavor that at the time received harsh criticism from American marketing professionals. Nissan, a brand that was then unknown, was being used in place of a well-known household name by the firm. The Datsun moniker continued to be more well-known than Nissan for many years after it was deleted in marketing surveys.

According to reports, Nissan would no longer use the Datsun brand name in developing markets.

The cars and trucks Nissan displayed at the 1959 Los Angeles Auto Show when it first entered North America in 1958 were known as Datsuns. And this branding persisted for them until 1983.

In fact, the Datsun brand was the foundation for the company’s very survival in this continent. The Datsun 1600 Roadster, the Datsun 510 sedan, the now-famous Datsun 240Z, and the original Datsun King Cab compact pickup truck were among the models that helped establish the popularity of Japanese automobiles in North America as well as their reputation for performance and dependability.

Instead of Toyota, Honda, or Volkswagen, Datsun was the most popular import brand in the US in 1975.

The business then stated that the Datsun brand name would be changed to Nissan in the fall of 1981, purportedly as part of a global marketing strategy. It took a long time, cost a lot of money, and caused a lot of market turmoil before it was finally finished in 1986.

The Datsun brand was revived by the business in 2012, but only for a few entry-level models that were offered in emerging regions like Indonesia, Nepal, South Africa, India, and Russia.

In reaction to persistent financial challenges made worse by the Covid-19 outbreak, Nissan is now preparing to phase out the Datsun brand once more, according to an article in Automotive News Europe. The story stated that the plans still need to be evaluated by Nissan’s board and could possibly alter.

The Datsun brand of Nissan is revived after more than 30 years.

It was one of the brands that supported the growth of Japanese automakers in the US and Europe.

The Datsun was the go-to vehicle for the average driver fed up with unreliable gas guzzlers in the 1970s because of its high fuel efficiency.

The Datsun has now been revived, more than 30 years after Nissan opted to discontinue the brand.

An updated model, geared toward first-time automobile buyers eager to climb the auto ownership ladder, was introduced in India on Monday.

Next year, India will begin selling the new 1.2-liter five-seat hatchback for less than 400,000 rupees ($6,670; APS4,500). Additionally, Russia and Indonesia will sell it.

According to the brand’s new website, Datsun is the name of “the Riesers Young innovators who are ahead of the curve in fast-growing markets “.

The white and contemporary styling of the new car stands in stark contrast to the outmoded, square design of the past, when brown, orange, and red were the most popular colors.

In 1914, the first Dat-Car (Dat-GO in Japanese) was introduced. It literally means “Lightning quick” and was given the company’s three investors’ first names.

The Datsun brand was phased out in 1981, and Nissan took its place as the company’s flagship brand after selling 20 million automobiles in 190 nations.

But Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said, “The Datsun is back… Datsun will help people fulfill the goal of owning a car,” at the introduction of the new Datsun Go in New Delhi.

The ten greatest Datsuns ever built

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.