Learn About Nissan's History

A Brief History of the Nissan Brand

The Nissan Altima wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the company that engineered one of the top-selling sedans. The company you know for its reliable cars, trucks, and SUVs has been more than a century in the making. Each year, the brand strives to innovate and grow, building on the solid foundation of performance, comfort, and sustainability they’ve already achieved. As with previous years, we at Townsend Nissan expect the automaker to keep getting better. Let’s take a brief look back at how Nissan became a brand we’re proud to represent.

Nissan’s Origin Story

The innovators that created the all-electric ARIYA in 2023 didn’t always go by the name Nissan. In 1911 the company was founded in Tokyo, Japan under the name Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works. Three years later, in 1914, the brand released its first car – the DAT model, named after one of Nissan’s initial investors. In 1934, the company was rebranded and took on the name Nissan, an abbreviation of the holding company Nihon Sangyo.

Nissan’s Crafts Japan’s First Mass-Produced Vehicle

Innovation is at the core of the Nissan brand, and company leaders and engineers aren’t afraid to be the first to take a leap. Such was the case with the Nissan Datsun Type 15. Nissan created The Datsun Type 15, Japan's first mass-produced vehicle, between May 1936 and April 1938 at its headquarters in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. The Datsun 15 used the same 722cc engine as the Datsun 14, but with a higher compression ratio to create a 16ps engine. Nissan also produced a truck version of the Datsun 15, the Datsun 15T, between 1936 and 1938, which had a different engine cover with vertical vents instead of the car's horizontal vents. The brand continued to produce trucks, cars, and even airplanes throughout the 1930s and 40s.

Nissan’s Goes Global

After WWII, Nissan, like many other automakers, pivoted from manufacturing vehicles for the military, to crafting passenger cars. They launched models such as the Nissan Skyline in 1957, which was a forerunner of the legendary GT-R®. They also launched the Datsun 1000. By this time the Datsun name had become synonymous with affordable, reliable vehicles, leading to it becoming the first Nissan model to reach U.S. shores in 1958. Ten years later, Nissan designed the first model made especially to suit the tastes of U.S. car buyers – the Datsun 510 sedan. Throughout the 80s the company continued to expand globally, establishing manufacturing plants around the world, including the United States. In 1990, the Nissan Z series and the Nissan GT-R® became icons of performance.

Nissan’s Modern Era Innovations and Sustainability

Nissan helped lead the automotive industry into the future with the development of the Nissan Leaf in 2010. The company continues to develop new technologies such as the Nissan Safety Shield® 360 suite. Today the brand is focused on sustainability and crafting electric vehicles, such as the 2023 Nissan ARIYA. To experience the latest advancements in automotive, visit us at Townsend Nissan and explore the Nissan lineup or cutting-edge vehicles.

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