Nissan Through the Decades
by Max Howard
The history of Nissan reaches back over 100 years to 1911. The Kwaishinsha Co., started by Masujiro Hashimoto, worked on a vehicle and produced a small car, called the Dat Car in 1914. Another company, Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd., opened its doors in 1919. This company manufactured three-wheel vehicles that were designed by William R. Gorham, an American engineer. In 1926, the two companies merged and formed Dat Jidosha Seizo Co.
Meanwhile, in 1933, Jidosha-Seizo Kabushiki-Kaisha was born, and this company took over Datsun manufacturing operations from Tobata Casting Co., Ltd. On June 1, 1934, that company changed its name to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
1959 Nissan A50. Photo by Flickr user kemeko1971.
In 1926, Kwaishinsha and Jitsuyo Jidosha merged to form Dat Jidosha Seiz Co. The company became affiliated with Tobata Casting Co. in 1931. In 1936, Nissan bought plant facilities and design plans from Graham-Paige Motors Corp., a U.S. corporation and produced cars and small trucks. As the war geared up, the plant produced less small Datsun cars and started producing military trucks and engines for the army's motor torpedo boats and airplanes. Fast forward past the trials and tribulations of the war and post-war Japan and in 1959, Nissan produced the Bluebird; in 1960, the Cedric. The company did well enough, and in 1966, produced the Sunny. It was this car that was one of the major forces in the quick growth of small cars.
1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GTR. Photo by Flickr user kemeko1971
In 1966, Nissan merged with Prince Motor Co., Ltd., which added the Skyline and Gloria models to their list of vehicles. In 1971, Nissan produced its first experimental safety vehicle, and since then, the company adopted many safety technologies. Japan also started enforcing emission standards mandated by the Muskie bill in the U.S. Nissan met the strict standards of Japan's version of the Clean Air Act with a three-way catalytic converter.
Nissan Skyline R34 GTR Vspec. Photo by Flickr user iwanta34gtr
The 1970s brought about two fuel crises and the demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. This caused an increase in Datsuns/Nissans. The Sunny ranked first in fuel economy and quality when the Environmental Protection Agency ran tests, causing it to gain more popularity in the United States.
Nissan opened Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp., U.S.A. in 1980, and in 1984, established Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited. Today, you have your choice of many different Nissan vehicles, including small cars, electric cars (the Leaf), SUVs and crossover vehicles. According to the prices of used cars on Kelley Blue Book, the 2012 Nissan Leaf in excellent condition costs around $18,000.
Nissan Leaf. Photo by Flickr user Janitors
About the Author:
Max Howard is a freelance writer who specializes in the auto industry, collectible cars and ecommerce.