Big in Japan: The tale of Nissan

If you look at a list of all the Japanese carmakers, you’ll begin to see a pattern. A few were founded before 1940, but most were started after 1950 and beyond that. A lot of them went out of business, but many of the survivors are now global icons in the market that have strong brand power and wield a great deal of economic authority. Nissan is one of those manufacturers that doesn’t seem to fit any patterns, despite being one of the world’s dominant car manufacturers.

Nissan produced its first car in 1914 under the name DAT, which was an acronym for the investors’ family names.  The name Nissan came into being in the mid-1930s and the company Nissan Motor Company was officially born.  The car company was a part of a large conglomerate of industries, which were controlled by a holding company.

Nissan, during the 1930s and 40s, built cars, trucks, engines and airplanes for the Japanese government and in the 1950s went into partnership with the British carmaker Austin and successfully built and marketed the small car in Japan. Following this, Nissan expanded and increased its sales considerably; it continued to move its cars and trucks to a few countries outside of Japan, but its big break, as far as exports go, was when they began exporting their product to the United States, and dealerships like Team Nissan of NH. One of the breakthrough cars for Nissan was the 240Z sports car (sold under the name of Datsun). The success of this car not only opened all the doors for Nissan in America, but also enabled Nissan to open up factories around the world. Nissan’s sales grew exponentially after that.

Nissan is still in the sports car business, along with family cars, trucks, SUVs, and their very popular luxury offering, Infiniti.  They are among the top six manufacturers in the world, and they are number two in Japan.  Nissan and the French auto builder Renault and the German giant Daimler are in a partnership, each one owning significant shares in the other’s company. They have a friendly exchange of technology and concepts and they encourage cooperation and development.

Cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the latest GTR have placed Nissan in very good stead for the future, as they look to appeal to all kinds of consumers in the market, whilst the Qashqai is one of the most popular cars in the UK and is constantly within the top-10 of all new cars sold in Britain.

Nissan started early in the last century, slowed down a bit in the 1940s and then pushed it into high gear and has never stopped since. Nissan is a company that doesn’t necessarily fit many patterns, but its success story might start a pattern all of its own.