Why Buy a Nissan?Buying Guides • Advice • Reviews
The automotive giant, Nissan, has a rich history that dates back to the turn of the 20th Century. To be more specific, 1911 is when the concepts were truly created. In 1914, they designed and built a small box-type passenger car dubbed Dat Car. Story has it that Dat represents the first initials of Hashimoto’s first three founders. Dat Car would later be known as the once popular Datsun.
• In 1919, the Japan-based company imported its machine tools, components and materials from the United States.
• In 1934, the newly named Nissan Motor Company (formerly known as Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha) is established and based in Tokyo, Japan.
• In April 1935, the first small-size Datsun passenger car comes off the assembly line. Cars are exported and launched in Australia.
• In 1936, Nissan purchased plant facilities from Graham-Paige Motor Corporation of the U.S. and began manufacturing trucks and passenger cars. However, as World War II battle engagements grew larger, the company briefly switched from producing Datsuns to military trucks. Nissan also manufactured engines for the army’s motor torpedo boats and airplanes.
• Despite the 1953 Nissan Labor Dispute, the corporation was a chief vehicle producer for the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
• By the time 1959 rolled around, Nissan was gaining ground and a good reputation in America when the first Datsun was sold in the States. Over 220 servicemen purchased the truck and had them shipped back to the United States from Japan.
• In 1962, Nissan establishes themselves as pioneers in the world of utility vehicles. Veteran cowboy and actor Roy Rogers introduces television audiences to Nissan’s Patrol, which was pitched as the world’s most powerful and advanced 4-wheel drive. Nissan’s Bluebird model came with 3-speed transmission, a two-tone paint job, white wall tires and optional sporty bucket seats.
• In 1969 and initially conceived as the Fairlady, the coveted 240Z made its debut in America. In fact, by the end of the decade, Nissan vehicles had become widely known and appreciated for their style and performances. The Datsun “Z” made lasting impressions on the minds of consumers and sports care designers alike.
• With sales and demand still going strong well into the late 1970’s, the “Z” practically sold right off the assembly lines almost faster than workers could make them. The car featured European styling, radio, air conditioning option and reclining bucket seats.
• 1972 ushers in the first family car with a racing heritage in the Datsun 510.
• In 1978, the Datsun B210GX becomes their best selling small sedan, achieving 50 miles per gallon on the highway.
• The 1970’s was a banner decade for the automaker, selling millions of Datsuns and crowned the top vehicle importer in the United States.
• 1983 is the year Nissan began building their trucks in America at the new assembly plant located in Smyrna, Tennessee.
• In 1985, the first Nissan Sentra rolled off the assembly line at the Smyrna, Tennessee plant.
• The 1980’s ended with a bang as Nissan firmly planted roots in the United States as their cars and trucks grew increasingly popular.
• Since 1988, Nissan has sponsored an annual Z-Car convention called ZCON. Held in the United States, this is considered to be the largest gathering of “Z” car clubs and enthusiast from all over America. Numerous books have been written about the beloved series.
• Nissan has been selling its luxury models under the Infiniti brand since 1989.
• In 1990, Torrance, California is established as the home of Nissan North America, Inc.
• 1993 marked the 10th anniversary of Nissan’s success in manufacturing in the United States. The new Altima topped their list of sales with the Maxima with Sentra following close behind. The mid-size Altima has long been a family favorite mode for reliable transportation. Meanwhile, the Maxima is marketed as a four-door sports car and garnering impressive sales as well.
• In 1997, Nissan is lauded as the most productive plant in North America in “The Harbour Report” for a fourth consecutive year since 1994. That same year, Nissan is named Best of the Best by the Environmental Protection Agency.
• In 1999, Nissan introduced their first four-door compact truck – the Frontier Crew. Not to be out-shined, the Frontier, Pathfinder and Xterra were bestowed with the honor of being the official vehicles of the Los Angeles County lifeguards. Such recognition garnered them with spotlight attention on the hit 1990’s television program, “Baywatch.”
• In 2002, the legendary “Z” made a comeback and was reintroduced as the Nissan 350Z and included the vibrant horsepower it was known for.
• The full-size pick-up truck, the Titan, came on the scene in 2003. Today, it is available with a King Cab or a Crew Cab.
• As the world continued to be concerned about the environment in 2007, so did Nissan with clean, green diving machine – the Altima Hybrid.
• In 2009, Nissan took a shift from their familiar European asymmetrical body of work. Their latest production, the Cube, has a boxy yet sleek shape. Also, the 350Z is replaced by the 370Z which is the fastest "Z" ever manufactured and featuring plush red leather interior.
• As with the other decades, 2000-2009 had been kind to Nissan. Their number of models and sales had doubled all the while improving in advanced technology.
• In 2010, the Nissan LEAF made its grand debut. The LEAF is the world’s first mass-produced 100% electric, zero emission vehicle.
The company was founded by Japan’s innovative pioneer, Masujiro Hashimoto. After suffering brief setbacks post World War II, Nissan began to modernize in 1960’s,started its journey as a major player in the U.S. in the 1970’s, and focused on producing luxury vehicles in the 1990's. In 2012, Nissan was named the sixth largest automaker. Today, Nissan continues to offer consumers quality, stylish vehicles with peak performance and reasonable prices. Whether the desire is for something sporty, family-friendly or in the rugged form of a pick-up truck, Nissan promises to deliver.