Nissan History: Driving Innovation on the Global Stage

Unveil the Remarkable: Join the Journey Nissan History

1933 – 1940 – The first Datsun passenger car

Jidosha-Seido Ltd. was born from the union of Nikon Sangyo Company and Tobata Imnono Company. The new company, led by Yoshisuke Aikawa, takes over the manufacturing of Datsun vehicles. Shortly after, Nikon became the sole owner and changed its name to Nissan Motor Company Ltd . In 1935, the first Datsun passenger car left the Yokohama factory. At the same time, the large-scale production of Nissan vehicles, trucks, and buses begins.

1941 – 1950 – The stoppage of the war

With a production that exceeds 20,000 units, the Pacific War slows Nissan’s activity. It was not until 1947 that the output of Datsun automobiles was resumed.

1951 – 1960 – The Patrol, a legendary vehicle

The 1950s were marked by the birth of an iconic car, the Patrol. Nissan used its experience in manufacturing military vehicles during World War II to design this 6-cylinder, 85hp 4×4 model. At the end of this decade, Datsun took centre stage for two reasons: it achieved victory in the “Mobilgas Round Australia Trial” (1958) and launched the Bluebird (1959) in Japan. This vehicle will become one of the most recognized in the world. Mark. The leap to the international market is a fact: in 1960the Nissan Motor Corporation USA (NMC) was founded in California after two years since the first exports to North America.

1961 – 1970 – A Japanese in Europe

In 1962, Nissan began its exports to Europe. Four years later, it merges with the Prince Automobile Company. This fact means incorporating an exceptional team of engineers and the famous Skyline and Gloria models. Just before the end of this decade, the legendary 240Z sees the light: its 2.4 6-cylinder in-line engine delivers 150 hp and Porsche-like performance for less than half the money.

1971 – 1980 – Less consumption for the crisis

The oil crisis of ’73 presents a bleak outlook. However, the Nissan Sunny is, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the car with the lowest fuel consumption, a distinction that makes it very popular in the Americas. In 1980, the commercial interest of the brand was centred in Spain, where it acquired a stake in Motor Ibérica SA, based in Barcelona. Accumulated exports at this time already exceed 10 million units.

1981 – 1990 – Goodbye Datsun

Nissan Motor Ibérica SA began manufacturing the Patrol in 1983. After being sold in foreign markets under the Datsun brand, the world production of vehicles is unified under the name Nissan. Sunderland is the location chosen by Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltd. (United Kingdom) to establish in 1984. Two years later, the first Bluebirds began to be produced at this plant. The United Kingdom is again chosen for the location of the Nissan European Technical Center Ltd. Nissan Italia (1988) is the first set of distribution companies called NSCs (National Sales Companies). Finally, Nissan Europa NV (NENV) was established in Amsterdam to direct all its activity in the Old Continent.

1991 – 2000 – Alliance with Renault

During the last decade of the 20th century, Nissan launched some of its most acclaimed models. In 1991, Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltd. began to export the Primera five-door model in Japan. A year later, the Micra arrived, symbolizing the supermini era, and became the Car of the Year in Europe in 1993. 

That same year, Nissan Motor Ibérica SA . Terrano II production began: it achieved worldwide success and absorbed more than 15% of the Barcelona plant’s output. Between 1994 and 1996, the Japanese manufacturer earned the prestigious “Queen’s Award for Export Achievement” in recognition of its high level of exports. A year later, the Nissan European Technical centre SA was created in Spain.

The final touch comes in 1999 when the brand signs an agreement with Renault to create a Global Alliance. In this way, the fourth largest automobile group in the world was born, with an annual production of almost 5 million vehicles and 265,000 employees. With the new millennium comes the bitter note: due to its significant losses, Nissan announced in 2000 its “Revival Plan” (NRP). 

2001 – 2009 – Amazing recovery

Just one year after the controversial “Nissan Revival Plan,” Carlos Ghosn, president of the company, announces that Nissan Europe has achieved an operating profit of 8%, the highest in its history. The “Nissan 180” plan then came into force, during which it set up its new European headquarters in Paris and inaugurated a European Design Center in London. 

At the end of 2003, the company achieved a record operating profit of 6,250 million euros, thus cancelling the debt of its automotive activities. Profits increase year after year. In 2005, Nissan established itself as one of the most profitable automobile manufacturers in the world.

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