Known by many names, this major Asian conglomerate has been making cars since 1914. Today, Nissan is the third largest automaker in Japan. The Nissan Motor Company took over the Datsun Company in 1933 and in 1934 it would take on the name we all know today.
The first Datsun passenger car came off the assembly line in 1935 and pretty soon Nissan started exporting to Australia. In 1937 the Datsun Type 15 becomes the first mass-produced vehicle in Japan, which also comes in mini-pickup and delivery van form.
Ever expanding the production, Nissan decides to expand into the United States. This move from 1958 was made due to the American influence Nissan had thanks to its designer, William R. Gorham. The models exported to the US were 1200 Sedans with a 48 hp engine, a compact pickup with 37 hp which later became a top seller during the 50s.
By the time the 60s rolled in Nissan had already made a name for itself on both sides of the Pacific. Now, the company moves into another part of the market, starting to sell sport cars. At first, it would be the SPL 210, a narrow, high roadster had a folding soft top and a 48hp engine, soon upgraded to a 85hp version.
Catering for the American market, Nissan introduces the Bluebird, with synchronized 3-speed transmission in 1962. In the off-road sector, the Patrol is debuted, with a generous amount of horsepower that was marketed as being able "to climb trees”. In 1967 the 2000 Roadster is let loose upon the unsuspecting public and onto the racing world which it takes by storm.
The sporty line is continued in the 70s with the "Z” line, one still continued today. The 1970 240Z becomes the best selling sports car in the world by offering quality and comfort at an affordable price. Sales in America start taking off until eventually, in 1975, Datsun becomes the number 1 importer in the States.
Nissan starts expanding during the 80s in order to keep up with demand and opens up new factories. And just when everyone thought that Nissan couldn't get any bigger, along comes a whole new brand of Nissan, one aimed at a more luxurious segment of the market, Infiniti. In 1989, as the Infiniti project getting off the ground, parent company Nissan was celebrating its millionth car built in the US.
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