Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., is a multinational automaker headquartered in Japan. It formerly marketed vehicles under the Datsun brand name and is one of the largest car manufacturers. The car''s name was an acronym of the company''s partners'' family names: Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi (DAT).
It was renamed as Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co. in 1918, and DAT Motorcar Co. in 1925. DAT Motors built trucks in addition to the DAT and Datsun passenger cars. The vast majority of its output were trucks, due to an almost non-existent consumer market for passenger cars at the time. In 1926 the Tokyo-based DAT Motors merged with the Osaka-based Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd. to become DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. in Osaka until 1932.
In 1928, Yoshisuke Aikawa founded the holding company Nippon Sangyo (Japan Industries or Nippon Industries). The name Nissan originated during the 1930s as an abbreviation was used on the Tokyo stock market for Nippon Sangyo. In 1931, DAT came out with a new smaller car, the first "Datson", meaning "Son of DAT". Later in 1933 after Nissan took control of DAT Motors, the last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", because "son" also means "loss" in Japanese, hence the name "Datsun."
In 1931, Aikawa purchased controlling shares in DAT Motors, and then in 1933 it merged Tobata Casting''s automobile parts department with DAT Motors. As Tobata Casting was a Nissan company, this was the beginning of Nissan''s automobile manufacturing.
The company was formerly a core member of the Nissan Group, but has now become more independent after its restructuring under its current CEO, Carlos Ghosn.
As of August 2009, the company''s global headquarters are located in Nishi-ku Yokohama. In 1999, Nissan entered a two way alliance with Renault S.A. of France, which owns 44.4% of Nissan while Nissan holds 15% of Renault shares, as of 2008. The current market share of Nissan, along with Honda and Toyota, in American auto sales represent the largest of the automotive firms based in Asia that have been increasingly encroaching on the historically dominant US-based "Big Three" consisting of GM, Ford and Chrysler. In its home market Nissan is the third largest car manufacturer, with Honda being second by a small margin and Toyota in a very dominant first. Along with its normal range of models, the auto major also produces a range of luxury models branded as Infiniti.
In 1999, with Nissan facing severe financial difficulties, it entered an alliance with Renault S.A. of France. Signed on March 27, 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the first of its kind involving a Japanese and French car manufacturer, each with its own distinct corporate culture and brand identity. The same year, Renault appointed its own Chief Operating Officer, Carlos Ghosn, as Chief Operating Officer of Nissan and took a 22.5% stake in Nissan Diesel. Later that year, the automaker fired its top Japanese executives.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has evolved over years to Renault holding 44.3% of Nissan shares, while Nissan holds 15% of Renault shares which does not give Nissan a voting or board representation due to legal restriction in France.
Under CEO Ghosn''s "Nissan Revival Plan" (NRP), the company has rebounded in what many leading economists consider to be one of the most spectacular corporate turnarounds in history, catapulting Nissan to record profits and a dramatic revitalization of both its Nissan and Infiniti model line-ups. Despite the turnaround, Infiniti sales have been a disappointment. In 2001, the company initiated Nissan 180, capitalizing on the success of the NRP. The targets set with 180 were an additional sale of 1 million cars, achieving operating margins of 8%, and to have zero automotive debts. Ghosn has been recognized in Japan for the company''s turnaround in the midst of an ailing Japanese economy. Ghosn and the Nissan turnaround were featured in Japanese Manga and popular culture. His achievements in revitalizing the company were noted by Japanese Government, which awarded him the Japan Medal with Blue Ribbon in 2004.
The first product of the Nissan-Renault alliance was the Primera, launched in 2001 and shared chassis with Renault Laguna that had been launched in 2000. Subsequently, Nissan''s Micra, Note and Versa models have shared the same mechanical design as the Renault Clio.
Nissan Motors India Private Ltd (NMIPL) incorporated in 2005 as a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co., Japan, was set up with the objective of bettering the lives of people through latest Nissan’s Technology and products.
The company started off by bringing Completely Built Units (CBUs) to India. The first product that the company brought in to India, for the Indian buyer, was the X-Trail which was in 2005. This was followed by Teana which was introduced in 2007 and the Micra which was introduced in 2010.
Nissan has built a manufacturing capacity of 2,00,000 cars at its facilities in Chennai and is investing about Rs 4500 crores along with Renault in the Indian operations.