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 was 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. During the war Nissan and Datsun produced vehicles for the Japanese war effort with the former even moving its plant to China during the Japanese occupation.
Nissan entered into a legal agreement with Austin of UK to produce the Seven in Japan from 1952. For the next 15 years, Nissan produced car licenced from the Austin Motor Company and in parallel developed its engines to be used in the domestic market. The brand became popular in the American market thanks to the 240Z coupe which it sold in large numbers while its European market success was carried forward by its powerful SUVs and cars like the Micra hatchback. It also achieved success in the performance field thanks to cars like the GTR and Silvia coupes which were sold both in America and Europe.
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 company's global headquarters is 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. Along with its normal range of models, the auto major also produces a range of luxury models branded as Infiniti. Under this umbrella the following companies exist: Renault, Nissan, Infiniti, Renault Samsung Motors, Dacia, Datsun, Venucia and Lada.
Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL) is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Japan. The company was incorporated in 2005 and together with its global alliance partner Renault have set up a manufacturing plant as well as a Research & Development Centre near Chennai. Nissan in India has a portfolio of two brands, Nissan and Datsun.
The company started off by bringing Completely Built Units (CBUs) to India. The first product that the company brought in to India was the X-Trail which was in 2005. It currently manufacturers the Micra hatchback, Sunny sedan, Terrano SUV, Evalia MPV and the Teana premium sedan which is brought to India in the CBU form. It discontinued the X-Trail and 370Z for the Indian market but is likely to introduce the Nissan GT-R sportscar in the future.