Interested in Automotive College? Discover the History of Nissan

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You may recognize some of its models: Altima, Xterra, Qashqai. But how did the company behind these iconic cars get to where it is now? Japanese automaker Nissan has made its name for decades as one of the world’s most recognizable automotive manufacturers, with its vehicles sold on every continent.
With its history dating back as far as the 1910s, it’s worth exploring how this iconic automaker has evolved over time, and how it has overcome hardships toward eventually establishing itself as a household name. Here’s how Nissan became the automotive giant it is today.

Humble Beginnings: Early to Mid-20th Century Developments

In July 1911, the Kaishinsha Motor Car Works company was founded in Tokyo by Masujiro Hashimoto, producing its first car three years later, the DAT. The company made several name changes during the late ‘10s to the mid-’30s before eventually merging with holding company Nihon Sangyo. The Nissan name originated as an abbreviation for Nihon Sangyo on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. would be given its proper name in 1934, and a manufacturing plant would finish construction in Yokohama the following year.
The company would grow as the years went on, eventually becoming a major producer of vehicles for the United States Army during the Korean War. With its Datsun brand, the company had also provided military vehicles to Japan’s army during World War II. However, much of its production operations would be seized by Allied occupation forces after the war before taking back control a decade later.

1950s Events, and Expansion to International Markets

The period after the Korean War would prove to be a fruitful one for the Nissan Motor Company, despite financial problems and union disputes plaguing the company prior to it. Nissan would rebound through the forming of a new labour union, with productivity as a major priority.

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Nissan would heavily expand to foreign markets during the 1950s

Those with an auto mechanic career may know that during the 1950s, Nissan would shift its focus to expanding into foreign markets. Notably, the company’s Datsun brand would enter markets like the United States, where the Datsun Bluebird would be showcased in 1958 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This created greater demand for Nissan vehicles in America, and the company opened a U.S. subsidiary in California in 1960.

1960s to Now: What Automotive College Students Should Know

The company would eventually open plants in various countries around the world, and the company now has manufacturing plants in 22 countries. Nissan’s continued rise would be aided by the 1973 oil crisis, after which consumers—particularly in the U.S.—showed an increased demand for small economy vehicles. Nissan would eventually become Europe’s highest-selling Japanese automotive brand during the ‘80s, and formed an alliance with French automaker Renault in 1999 during a time of financial difficulty.

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Nissan has been making a name for itself as a major EV manufacturer

Today, Nissan is known as one of the most recognizable car brands in the world. Students doing their automotive college training should know that Nissan has also established itself as a major Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer, selling up to 450,000 Nissan LEAF electric cars as of January 2020. In other words, Nissan is an automaker with a fascinating past, successful present, and exciting future.
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