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INFOGRAPHIC: History of Nissan

Nissan is a car manufacturer that has a rich heritage. Before becoming one of the largest carmakers in the world, this Japanese company had encountered different challenges along the way. Through the years, Nissan has introduced well-known cars such as the Bluebird, Sunny, GT-R, and the Z-series sports cars, among others. Nissan is one of the major players in the Philippine automotive industry, featuring a wide selection of brand-new cars. To know more about the brand, here is an overview of Nissan’s story and humble roots.

The story of Nissan can be traced way back in 1911 when Masujiro Hashimoto established the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works. The said company worked on domestic automobile production and had three investors: Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama, and Aketaro Takeuchi.

Three years later, Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works completed manufacturing the DAT car. The DAT symbolizes the combined initials of the company’s three investors (Den, Aoyama, and Takeuchi). The DAT car was then entered in the Taisho Exposition held in the same year, 1914.

In 1918, Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works has expanded its operations to 60 employees. A year after, the company introduced the Model 41 DAT, which is said to feature the first single-body casting four-cylinder engine in Japan.

By 1925, Kwaishinsha established DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd. for the purpose of further strengthening the company’s sales performance. Then in 1926, DAT Jidosha Seizo Co., Ltd. was born and merged with DAT Jidosha Trading Company.

In 1931, DAT Jidosha Seizo Co., Ltd. became a subsidiary of Tobata Casting Co., Ltd., a company that manufactured automobile parts. They developed its first 495cc compact size passenger vehicle. Then in 1932, the company changed its name to Datsun.

Two years later, the corporate name was changed to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. because Nihon Sangyo Co., Ltd. became the 100 percent investor.

Come 1940, Nissan’s first knockdown (KD) units are shipped to Dowa Jidosha Kogyo in Manchuria.  KD units are fully disassembled automotive parts that will then be assembled by the end user.

In February 1941, Nissan introduced the Truck Model 180 and the Bus Model 190. The momentum of Nissan came to a sudden stop when World War II erupted. This forced Nissan to stop the production of its cars and trucks.

During World War II, Nissan produced trucks and military vehicles. Upon the end of the war, allied forces got hold of Nissan’s production operations that lasted for about a decade.

In 1958, Nissan began exporting its passenger cars to the United States. A year after, the company introduced several cars such as the Nissan Truck Model 680, Datsun Bluebird Model 310, and the Nissan Bus Model 690, among others.

In 1960, Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to win the Deming Prize for engineering excellence. The Deming Prize is given to a company that played a significant role in Total Quality Management (TQM).

In September 1960, the Nissan Motor Corporation is established in the United States. On the same year, Nissan launched cars such as Datsun Fairlady SPL212, Cedric Model 30, Patrol Model 60, among others.

In 1966, Nissan merged with Japan’s Prince Motors, Ltd., which allows the automaker to acquire the Skyline and Gloria models. Nissan’s cumulative vehicle exports reached one million units in November 1969. This is also the year when Nissan introduced the Fairlady Z Model S30.

Nissan showed its technological capability as the Lambda 4S-5 Nissan rocket was launched to be Japan’s first satellite. Then in 1975, Nissan’s cumulative domestic sales surpass 10 million units.

In 1979, Nissan Design International, Inc. (NDI) is established in the United States. During this year, Nissan launched new models such as the Silvia/Gazelle Model S110, Datsun Truck Model 720, Datsun Bluebird Model 910, among others.

In July 1980, the Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation in the United States is established. The first Datsun truck that rolled off the line happened in June 1983 while the first Sunny (Sentra) in March 1985.

In 1983, Nissan Research & Development, Inc. is established in the United States. A year after, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. is established, with production starting in July 1986.

In 1989, the Nissan Silvia wins the Japanese Car of the Year award. A year later in 1990, the Japanese automaker had several reasons to celebrate. First, it managed to surpass 50 million units of cumulative production. Moreover, the 300ZX (Fairlady Z) wins the 1990 Import Car of the Year award in the United States.

In 1992, the automaker’s new production facility at the Kyushu Plant is completed. It was also during this year when Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation USA begins production of the Altima.

In 1999, Nissan formed an alliance with Renault. The said alliance makes use of each brand’s strong markets; Nissan in Asia, U.S., Mexico while Renault in Europe, Turkey, and South America.

In 2001, Nissan and Suzuki Motor Corporation came to an agreement that Suzuki will supply mini-vehicles to Nissan. On the same year, Nissan began the driving tests for its Xterra FCV, a direct-hydrogen-fueled fuel cell vehicle.

In June 2003, Nissan and Dongfeng established the Dongfeng Motor Co., Ltd. in China. Subsequently, on August 2003, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors reach a Product Supply Agreement on a Mini-Commercial Vehicle.

In October 2007, Nissan introduced the world’s first Around View Monitor, which gives the driver a bird’s eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings in real-time.

In October 2010, Nissan started to produce the all-electric Leaf at its Oppama Plant. The Nissan Leaf wins the 2011 European Car of the Year.

In 2013, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance reached an agreement with Ford to fasttrack the commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicle technology.  

In 2014, Nissan introduced its first all-electric commercial vehicle, the e-NV200. The Japanese automaker also held the global launch of the all-new NP300 Navara.

In 2016, Nissan and Mitsubishi forged a strategic partnership. Nissan would later on strengthen its market share with the acquisition of 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors. In the same year, Nissan introduced its new electric-motor drivetrain—the e-Power.

Nissan is a car maker that has come a long way. Originating in Japan, Nissan managed to expand its market reach and became a global brand. In the Philippines, some of the popular Nissan brand-new cars are the Navara, Urvan, and Juke. Early this 2018, Nissan Philippines launched the Terra, which marked its entry into the competitive seven-seater midsize SUV segment.

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