Nissan

Nissan Motor Company Ltd (Japanese: 日産自動車株式会社?, Hepburn: Nissan Jidōsha Kabushiki-gaisha), usually shortened to Nissan (/ˈniːsɑːn/ or UK /ˈnɪsæn/; Japanese: [ɲissaɴ]), is a Japanese multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. The company sells its cars under the Nissan, Infiniti, and Datsun brands with in-house performance tuning products labelled Nismo.

Since 1999, Nissan has been part of the Renault–Nissan Alliance, a partnership between Nissan and French automaker Renault. As of 2013, Renault holds a 43.4% voting stake in Nissan, while Nissan holds a 15% non-voting stake in Renault. From 2009 to 2017 Carlos Ghosn served as CEO of both companies. In February 2017 Ghosn announced he would step down as CEO of Nissan on 1 April 2017, while remaining chairman of the company

In 2013, Nissan was the sixth largest automaker in the world, after Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen Group, Hyundai Motor Group, and Ford. Taken together, the Renault–Nissan Alliance would be the world’s fourth largest automaker, however Nissan is the leading Japanese brand in China, Russia and Mexico.

Nissan is the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, with global sales of more than 275,000 all-electric vehicles as of mid-December 2016. The top-selling vehicle of the carmaker's lineup is the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car and the world's top-selling highway-capable plug-in electric car in history; more than 240,000 have been sold worldwide as of September 2016.

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Nissan Corporation Logo cropped 01.png
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NISSAN GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS.jpg

History

Beginnings of Datsun brand name from 1914

Masujiro Hashimoto (橋本増治郎) founded the Kaishinsha Motor Car Works (快進社自働車工場 Kaishinsha jidōsha kōjō A Good Company Automobile Manufacturer) 1 July 1911; 105 years ago (1911-07-01) in Tokyo's Azabu-Hiroo district, Japan's first automobile manufacturer. In 1914, the company produced its first car, called DAT.

The new car's model name was an acronym of the company's investors' surnames:

  • Kenjiro Den (田 健次郎?, Den Kenjirō)
  • Rokuro Aoyama (青山 禄郎?, Aoyama Rokurō)
  • Meitaro Takeuchi (竹内 明太郎?, Takeuchi Meitarō)

It was renamed to Kaishinsha Motorcar Co., Ltd. (株式会社快進社) in 1918, and again to DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd. (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, and disaster recovery efforts as a result of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. Beginning in 1918, the first DAT trucks were produced for the military market. At the same time, Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd. (jitsuyo 実用 means practical use or utility) produced small trucks using parts, and materials imported from the United States.

Commercial operations were placed on hold during Japan's participation in World War I, and the company contributed to the war effort.

In 1926 the Tokyo-based DAT Motors merged with the Osaka-based Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd. (実用自 動車製造株式会社?, Jitsuyō Jidōsha Seizō Kabushiki-Gaisha) a.k.a. Jitsuyo Jidosha Seizo (established 1919 as a Kubota subsidiary) to become DAT Jidosha Seizo Co., Ltd Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (ダット自動車製造株式会社?, DAT Jidōsha Seizō Kabushiki-Gaisha) in Osaka until 1932. From 1923 to 1925, the company produced light cars and trucks under the name of Lila.

In 1931, DAT came out with a new smaller car, called the Datsun Type 11, the first "Datson", meaning "Son of DAT". Later in 1933 after Nissan Group zaibatsu took control of DAT Motors, the last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", because "son" also means "loss" (損) in Japanese, hence the name "Datsun" (ダットサン?, Dattosan).

In 1933, the company name was Nipponized to Jidosha-Seizo Co., Ltd. (自動車製造株式会社?, Jidōsha Seizō Kabushiki-Gaisha, "Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd.") and was moved to Yokohama.

Nissan name first used in 1930s

In 1928, Yoshisuke Aikawa founded the holding company Nihon Sangyo (日本産業 Japan Industries or Nihon Industries). The name 'Nissan' originated during the 1930s as an abbreviation used on the Tokyo Stock Exchange for Nihon Sangyo. This company was the famous Nissan "Zaibatsu" which included Tobata Casting and Hitachi. At this time Nissan controlled foundries and auto parts businesses, but Aikawa did not enter automobile manufacturing until 1933.

The zaibatsu eventually grew to include 74 firms, and became the fourth-largest in Japan during World War II.

In 1931, DAT Jidosha Seizo became affiliated with Tobata Casting, and was merged into Tobata Casting in 1933. As Tobata Casting was a Nissan company, this was the beginning of Nissan's automobile manufacturing.

Nissan Motor organized in 1934

In 1934, Aikawa separated the expanded automobile parts division of Tobata Casting and incorporated it as a new subsidiary, which he named Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (日産自動車?, Nissan Jidōsha). The shareholders of the new company however were not enthusiastic about the prospects of the automobile in Japan, so Aikawa bought out all the Tobata Casting shareholders (using capital from Nihon Industries) in June 1934. At this time, Nissan Motor effectively became owned by Nihon Sangyo and Hitachi.

In 1935, construction of its Yokohama plant was completed. 44 Datsuns were shipped to Asia, Central and South America. In 1935, the first car manufactured by an integrated assembly system rolled off the line at the Yokohama plant. Nissan built trucks, airplanes, and engines for the Imperial Japanese Army. November 1937 Nissan's headquarter was moved to Hsinking the capital of Manchukuo then in December changed name to Manchuria Heavy Industries Developing Co.

In 1940, first knockdown kits were shipped to Dowa Jidosha Kogyo (Dowa Automobile), one of MHID’s companies, for assembly. In 1944, the head office was moved to Nihonbashi, Tokyo, and the company name was changed to Nissan Heavy Industries, Ltd., which the company kept through 1949.

Nissan's early American connection

DAT had inherited Kubota's chief designer, American engineer William R. Gorham. This, along with Aikawa's 1908 visit to Detroit, was to greatly affect Nissan's future. Although it had always been Aikawa's intention to use cutting-edge auto making technology from America, it was Gorham that carried out the plan. Most of the machinery and processes originally came from the United States. When Nissan started to assemble larger vehicles under the “Nissan” brand in 1937, much of the design plans and plant facilities were supplied by the Graham-Paige Company. Nissan also had a Graham license under which passenger cars, buses and trucks were made.

In David Halberstam's 1986 book The Reckoning, Halberstam states "In terms of technology, Gorham was the founder of the Nissan Motor Company" and that "young Nissan engineers who had never met him spoke of him as a god and could describe in detail his years at the company and his many inventions."

Austin Motor Company relations (1937–1960s)

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1937 Datsun model 16
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Austin Seven Ruby

From 1934 Datsun began to build Austin 7s under licence. This operation became the greatest success of Austin's overseas licensing of its Seven and marked the beginning of Datsun's international success.

In 1952, Nissan entered into a legal agreement with Austin, for Nissan to assemble 2,000 Austins from imported partially assembled sets and sell them in Japan under the Austin trademark. The agreement called for Nissan to make all Austin parts locally within three years, a goal Nissan met. Nissan produced and marketed Austins for seven years. The agreement also gave Nissan rights to use Austin patents, which Nissan used in developing its own engines for its Datsun line of cars. In 1953, British-built Austins were assembled and sold, but by 1955, the Austin A50 – completely built by Nissan and featuring a new 1489 cc engine—was on the market in Japan. Nissan produced 20,855 Austins from 1953 to 1959.

Nissan leveraged the Austin patents to further develop their own modern engine designs past what the Austin's A- and B-family designs offered. The apex of the Austin-derived engines was the new design A series engine in 1966. In 1967, Nissan introduced its new highly advanced four cylinder overhead cam (OHC) Nissan L engine, which while similar to Mercedes-Benz OHC designs was a totally new engine designed by Nissan. This engine powered the new Datsun 510, which gained Nissan respect in the worldwide sedan market. Then, in 1969 Nissan introduced the Datsun 240Z sports car which used a six-cylinder variation of the L series engine, developed under Nissan Machinery (Nissan Koki Co., Ltd. 日産工機) in 1964, a former remnant of another auto manufacturer Kurogane. The 240Z was an immediate sensation and lifted Nissan to world class status in the automobile market.

100 Day Strike of 1953

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1953 Nissan labor dispute

During the Korean War, Nissan was a major vehicle producer for the U.S. Army. After the Korean War ended, significant levels of anti-communist sentiment existed in Japan. The union that organized Nissan's workforce was strong and militant. Nissan was in financial difficulties, and when wage negotiations came, the company took a hard line. Workers were locked out, and several hundred were fired. The Japanese government and the U.S. occupation forces arrested several union leaders. The union ran out of strike funds, and was defeated. A new labor union was formed, with Shioji Ichiro one of its leaders. Ichiro had studied at Harvard University on a U.S. government scholarship. He advanced an idea to trade wage cuts against saving 2,000 jobs. Ichiro's idea was made part of a new union contract that prioritized productivity. Between 1955 and 1973, Nissan "expanded rapidly on the basis of technical advances supported - and often suggested - by the union." Ichiro became president of the Confederation of Japan Automobile Workers Unions and "the most influential figure in the right wing of the Japanese labor movement."

Merger with Prince Motor Company

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1966 Prince R380 racecar

In 1966, Nissan merged with the Prince Motor Company, bringing more upmarket cars, including the Skyline and Gloria, into its selection. The Prince name was eventually abandoned, and successive Skylines and Glorias bore the Nissan name. "Prince," was used at the Japanese Nissan dealership "Nissan Prince Shop" until 1999, when "Nissan Red Stage" replaced it. Nissan Red Stage itself has been replaced as of 2007. The Skyline lives on as the G Series of Infiniti.

Miss Fairlady

To capitalize the renewed investment during 1964 Summer Olympics, Nissan established the gallery on the second and third floors of the San-ai building, located in Ginza, Tokyo. To attract visitors, Nissan started using beautiful female showroom attendants where Nissan held a competition to choose five candidates as the first class of Nissan Miss Fairladys, modeled after "Datsun Demonstrators" from the 1930s who introduced cars. The Fairlady name was used as a link to the popular Broadway play My Fair Lady of the era. Miss Fairladys became the marketers of the Datsun Fairlady 1500.

In April 2008, 14 more Miss Fairlady candidates were added, for a total of 45 Nissan Miss Fairlady pageants (22 in Ginza, 8 in Sapporo, 7 in Nagoya, 7 in Fukuoka).

In April 2012, 7 more Miss Fairlady candidates were added, for a total of 48 Nissan Miss Fairlady pageants (26 in Ginza, 8 in Sapporo, 7 in Nagoya, 7 in Fukuoka).

In April 2013, 6 more Miss Fairlady candidates were added to Ginza showroom, for a total of 27 48th Ginza Nissan Miss Fairlady pageants.

Foreign expansion

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1971 Datsun 240Z (U.S. model) in green metallic

In the 1950s, Nissan decided to expand into worldwide markets. Nissan management realized their Datsun small car line would fill an unmet need in markets such as Australia and the world's largest car market, the United States. They first showed the Datsun Bluebird at the 1958 Los Angeles Auto Show. The company formed a U.S. subsidiary, Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A., in Gardena, California in 1960, headed by Yutaka Katayama. Nissan continued to improve their sedans with the latest technological advancements and chic Italianate styling in sporty cars such as the Datsun Fairlady roadsters, the race-winning 411 series, the Datsun 510 and the world-class Datsun 240Z. By 1970, Nissan had become one of the world's largest exporters of automobiles.

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2010 Nissan Maxima SV Sport

In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, consumers worldwide (especially in the lucrative U.S. market) began turning to high-quality small economy cars. To meet the growing demand for its new Nissan Sunny, the company built new factories in Mexico (Nissan Mexicana was established in the early 1960s and commenced manufacturing since 1966 at their Cuernavaca assembly facility, making it their first North American assembly plant), Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, United States (Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corporation USA was established in 1980) and South Africa. The "Chicken Tax" of 1964 placed a 25% tax on commercial vans imported to the United States. In response, Nissan, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. began building plants in the U.S. in the early 1980s. Nissan's initial assembly plant, in Smyrna, Tennessee (which broke ground in 1980), at first built only trucks such as the 720 and Hardbody, but has since expanded to produce several car and SUV lines, including the Altima, Maxima, Xterra, Pathfinder and LEAF all-electric car. The addition of mass-market automobiles was in response to the 1981 Voluntary Export Restraints imposed by the U.S. Government. An engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee followed, most recently a second assembly plant was established in Canton, Mississippi. In 1970, Teocar was created, which was a Greek assembly plant created in cooperation with Theoharakis. It was situated in Volos, Greece and its geographical location was perfect as the city had a major port. The plant started production in 1980, assembling Datsun pick-up trucks and continued with the Nissan Cherry & Sunny vehicles. Until May 1995 170,000 vehicles were made, mainly for Greece.

In order to overcome export tariffs and delivery costs to its European customers, Nissan contemplated establishing a plant in Europe. Nissan tried to convert the Greek plant into one manufacturing cars for all European countries however due to issues with the Greek government not only did that not happen but the plant itself was closed. After an extensive review, Sunderland in the north east of England was chosen for its skilled workforce and its location near major ports. The plant was completed in 1986 as the subsidiary Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. By 2007, it was producing 400,000 vehicles per year, landing it the title of the most productive plant in Europe.

In 2001, Nissan established a manufacturing plant in Brazil. In 2005, Nissan added operations in India, through its subsidiary Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd. With its global alliance partner, Renault, Nissan invested $990 million to set up a manufacturing facility in Chennai, catering to the Indian market as well as a base for exports of small cars to Europe. Nissan entered the Middle East market in 1957 when it sold its first car in Saudi Arabia. Nissan sold nearly 520,000 new vehicles in China in 2009 in a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor. To meet increased production targets, Dongfeng-Nissan expanded its production base in Guangzhou, which would become Nissan's largest factory around the globe in terms of production capacity. Nissan also has moved and expanded its Nissan Americas Inc. headquarters, moving from Los Angeles to Franklin, Tennessee in the Nashville area.

In 2014, Nissan cars will be produced by Renault-Samsung in South Korea. This production will start with 80,000 Nissan Rogue/X-Trail produced by Renault-Samsung Busan factory in South Korea, instead of being produced by Nissan in Japan.

Relationships with other car companies

Ford Motor Company

In Australia, between 1989 and 1992, Nissan Australia shared models with Ford Australia under a government-backed rationalisation scheme known as the Button Plan, with a version of the Nissan Pintara being sold as the Ford Corsair and a version of the Ford Falcon as the Nissan Ute. A variant of the Nissan Patrol was sold as the Ford Maverick during the 1988-94 model years.

In North America, Nissan partnered with Ford from 1993 to 2002 to market the Ohio built Mercury Villager and the Nissan Quest. The two minivans were virtually identical aside from cosmetic differences. In 2002, Nissan and Ford announced the discontinuation of the arrangement.

In Europe, Nissan and Ford Europe partnered to produce the Nissan Terrano II and the badge engineered Ford Maverick, a mid-size SUV produced at the Nissan Motor Ibérica S.A (NMISA) plant in Barcelona, Spain. The Maverick/Terrano II was a popular vehicle sold throughout Europe and Australasia. It was also sold in Japan as a captive import, with the Nissan model marketed as the Nissan Mistral.

Volkswagen

Nissan licensed the Volkswagen Santana. Production began in 1984, at Nissan's Zama, Kanagawa, and ended in May 1990.

Alfa Romeo

From 1983 to 1987, Nissan cooperated with Alfa Romeo to build the Arna. The goal was for Alfa to compete in the family hatchback market segment, and for Nissan to establish a foothold in the European market. After Alfa Romeo's takeover by Fiat, both the car and cooperation were discontinued.

General Motors

In Europe, GM and Nissan co-operated on the Light Commercial vehicle the Nissan Primastar. The high roof version is built in the NMISA plant in Barcelona, Spain; while the low roof version is built at Vauxhall Motors/Opel's Luton plant in Bedfordshire, UK

In 2013, GM announced its intentions to rebadge the Nissan NV200 commercial van as the 2015 model year Chevrolet City Express, to be introduced by end of 2014. Holden, GM's Australian subsidiary, sold versions of the Nissan Pulsar as the Holden Astra between 1984 and 1989.

LDV

LDV Group sold a badge engineered light commercial vehicle version of the Nissan Serena as the LDV Cub from 1996 to 2001. The Nissan equivalent was marketed as the Nissan Vannette Cargo.

Alliance with Renault

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Current CEO Carlos Ghosn has been credited with reviving Nissan

In 1999, with Nissan facing severe financial difficulties, Nissan entered an alliance with Renault S.A. of France.

Signed on 27 March 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance was the first of its kind involving a Japanese and French car manufacturer, each with its own distinct corporate culture and brand identity. In June 2001, Carlos Ghosn was named Chief Executive Officer of Nissan. In May 2005, Ghosn was named President of Renault. He was appointed President and CEO of Renault on 6 May 2009. Nissan's management is a trans-cultural, diverse team.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has evolved over years to Renault holding 43.4% of Nissan shares, while Nissan holds 15% of Renault shares. The alliance itself is incorporated as the Renault-Nissan B.V., founded on 28 March 2002 under Dutch law. Renault-Nissan B.V. is equally owned by Renault and Nissan.

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. 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 Nissan were noted by the Japanese Government, which awarded him the Japan Medal with Blue Ribbon in 2004.

On 7 April 2010, Daimler AG exchanged a 3.9% share of its holdings for 3.9% from both Nissan and Renault. This triple alliance allows for the increased sharing of technology and development costs, encouraging global cooperation and mutual development.

On 12 December 2012, the Renault–Nissan Alliance formed a joint venture with Russian Technologies (Alliance Rostec Auto BV) with the aim of becoming the long-term controlling shareholder of AvtoVAZ, Russia’s largest car company and owner of the country's biggest selling brand, Lada. The takeover was completed in June 2014, and the two companies of the Renault-Nissan Alliance took a combined 67.1% stake of Alliance Rostec, which in turn acquired a 74.5% of AvtoVAZ, thereby giving Renault and Nissan indirect control over the Russian manufacturer. Ghosn was appointed Chairman of the Board of AvtoVAZ on 27 June 2013.

Alliance 2013 sales
Renault 2,628,208
Nissan 5,102,979
Avtovaz 534,911
Total 8,266,098

Taken together, the Renault–Nissan Alliance sells one in ten cars worldwide, and would be the world's fourth largest automaker with 2013 sales of 8,266,098 units.

Other alliances and joint ventures

  • In 2003, Nissan and Dongfeng Motor Corporation formed a 50:50 joint venture with the name Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd (DFL). The company calls itself “China's first automotive joint venture enterprise with a complete series of trucks, buses, light commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles,” and “the largest joint-venture project of its scale.”
  • On 7 April 2010, Daimler AG exchanged a 3.1% share of its holdings for 3.1% from both Nissan and Renault. This triple alliance allows for the increased sharing of technology and development costs, encouraging global cooperation and mutual development.
  • On 12 December 2012, the Renault–Nissan Alliance formed a joint venture with Russian Technologies (Alliance Rostec Auto BV) with the aim of becoming the long-term controlling shareholder of AvtoVAZ, Russia’s largest car company and owner of the country's biggest selling brand, Lada. Carlos Ghosn was appointed Chairman of the Board of AvtoVAZ on 27 June 2013.
  • Nissan is in an alliance with Ashok Leyland in India, producing light commercial vehicles.
  • Together with Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan develops mini cars which are produced at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan. In May 2016 Nissan bought a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors for an estimated $USD2 billion.

Leadership

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Older style Nissan logo (1983–2002)
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Older Nissan corporate wordmark
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Current Nissan logo

Presidents and chief executive officers of Nissan:

  • 1933–1939: Yoshisuke Aikawa
  • 1939–1942: Masasuke Murakami
  • 1942–1944: Genshichi Asahara (ja)
  • 1944–1945: Haruto Kudo (ja)
  • 1945–1945: Takeshi Murayama
  • 1945–1947: Souji Yamamoto
  • 1947–1951: Taichi Minoura
  • 1951–1957: Genshichi Asahara (ja)
  • 1957–1973: Katsuji Kawamata (ja)
  • 1973–1977: Tadahiro Iwakoshi
  • 1977–1985: Takashi Ishihara (ja)
  • 1985–1992: Yutaka Kume (ja)
  • 1992–1996: Yoshifume Tsuji
  • 1996–2001: Yoshikazu Hanawa (ja)
  • 2001–2017: Carlos Ghosn
  • 2017–present: Hiroto Saikawa

Branding and corporate identity

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Carlos Ghosn in front of new CI at the 2013 earnings press conference in Yokohama.
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Current Nissan "Corporation" logo 2013.

Brands

Nissan: Nissan's volume models are sold worldwide under the Nissan brand.

Datsun: Until 1983, Nissan automobiles in most export markets were sold under the Datsun brand. In 1984 the Datsun brand was phased out and the Nissan brand was phased in. All cars in 1984 had both the Datsun and Nissan branding on them and in 1985 the Datsun name was completely dropped. In July 2013, Nissan announced the relaunch of Datsun as a brand targeted at emerging markets.

Infiniti: Since 1989, Nissan has sold its luxury models under the Infiniti brand. 2012 Infiniti changed its headquarters to Hong Kong, where it is incorporated as Infiniti Global Limited. President is former BMW executive Roland Krueger. From 2014 on, Infiniti cars are being sold also in Japan.

Nismo: Nissan's in-house tuning shop is Nismo, short for "Nissan Motorsport International Limited." Nismo is being re-positioned as Nissan's performance brand.

Corporate identity

For many years, Nissan used a red wordmark for the company, and car "badges" for the "Nissan" and "Infiniti" brands.

At Nissan's 2013 earnings press conference in Yokohama, Nissan unveiled "a new steel-blue logo that spells out—literally—the distinction between Nissan the company and Nissan the brand." Using a blue-gray color scheme, the new corporate logo did read NISSAN MOTOR COMPANY. Underneath were the "badge" logos for the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands.

Later in 2013, the Nissan "Company" logo changed to the Nissan "Corporation" logo. The latter is the currently used logo of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Slogans

  • 世界の日産 (romaji: Sekai no Nissan, English: Nissan of the World; 1960s)
  • 人とくるまの調和をめざす 日産自動車 (romaji: Hito to kuruma no chōwa o mezasu Nissanjidōsha, English: Nissan aims at harmony between people and cars; 1970–1973)
  • 人とクルマの明日をめざす 日産自動車 (romaji: Hito to kuruma no ashita o mezasu Nissanjidōsha, English: Nissan aims at tomorrow's people and cars; 1974–1977)
  • 人とクルマの明日をめざす 技術の日産 (romaji: Hito to kuruma no ashita o mezasu gijutsu no Nissan, English: Nissan technology aims at tomorrow's people and cars; 1978–1981)
  • 世界に愛される 先進技術の日産 (romaji: Sekai ni aisareru senshin gijutsu no Nissan, English: The world loves Nissan advanced technology; 1983)
  • もう走り始めています 21世紀へ 先進技術の日産 (romaji: Mō hashiri hajimete imasu 21 seiki e senshin gijutsu no Nissan, English: Nissan advanced technology began in the 21st Century; 1983–1985)
  • Feel The Beat もっと楽しく感じるままに 技術の日産 (romaji: Feel The Beat motto tanoshiku kanjiru mama ni gijutsu no Nissan, English: Feel The Beat, more fun feel remains to the Nissan Technology; 1985–1991)
  • LIFE TOGETHER もっと楽しく感じるままに 技術の日産 (romaji: LIFE TOGETHER motto tanoshiku kanjiru mama ni gijutsu no Nissan, English: LIFE TOGETHER more fun feel remains to the Nissan Technology; 1991–1998)
  • もっと日産になる (romaji: Motto Nissan ni naru, English: There's more to Nissan; 1997–1999)
  • クルマのよろこびを日産 です (romaji: Kuruma no yorokobi o, Nissan desu, English: The joy in the car, it's Nissan; 1999–2000)
  • NISSAN, RENAISSANCE (2000–2002)
  • SHIFT_the future (2002–2008)
  • SHIFT_the way you move (2008–2012)
  • SHIFT_ (2012–2013)
  • Innovation that excites (2013–present)

Products

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At the NISMO shop, in Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Japan

Automotive products

Nissan has produced an extensive range of mainstream cars and trucks, initially for domestic consumption but exported around the world since the 1950s.

It also produced several memorable sports cars, including the Datsun Fairlady 1500, 1600 and 2000 Roadsters, the Z-car, an affordable sports car originally introduced in 1969; and the GT-R, a powerful all-wheel-drive sports coupe.

In 1985, Nissan created a tuning division, Nismo, for competition and performance development of such cars. One of Nismo's latest models is the 370Z Nismo.

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2013 Nissan Altima 2.5SV

Nissan also sells a range of kei cars, mainly as a joint venture with other Japanese manufacturers like Suzuki or Mitsubishi. Until 2013, Nissan rebadged kei cars built by other manufacturers. Beginning in 2013, Nissan and Mitsubishi shared the development of the Nissan DAYZ / Mitsubishi eK Wagon series. Nissan also has shared model development of Japanese domestic cars with other manufacturers, particularly Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki and Isuzu.

In China, Nissan produces cars in association with the Dongfeng Motor Group including the 2006 Nissan Livina Geniss, the first in a range of a new worldwide family of medium-sized car.

In 2010, Nissan created another tuning division,IPL, this time for their premium/luxury brand Infiniti.

In 2011, after Nissan released the Nissan NV-Series in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, Nissan created a commercial sub brand called Nissan Commercial Vehicles which focuses on commercial vans, pickup trucks, and fleet vehicles for the US, Canadian, and Mexican Markets.

In 2013, Nissan launched the Qashqai SUV in South Africa, along with their new motorsport Qashqai Car Games.

Japan

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A Nissan dealership in Nagano
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Nissan Red and Blue Stage dealership Nagano (2009)

As of 2007 in Japan, Nissan sells its products with internationally recognized "Nissan" signage, using a chrome circle with "Nissan" across the front.

Previously, Nissan used two dealership names called "Nissan Blue Stage" (ja:日産・ブルーステージ?, Nissan Burū Sutēji), "Nissan Red Stage" (ja:日産・レッドステージ?, Nissan Reddo Sutēji), and "Nissan Red and Blue Stage" (ja:日産・レッド&ブルーステージ?, Nissan Reddo & Burū Sutēji), established in 1999 after the merger with Renault.

Nissan Red Stage was the result of combining an older sales channel of dealerships under the names "Nissan Prince Store" (ja:日産・プリンス店?, Nissan Purinsu-ten), established in 1966 after the merger of Prince Motors by Nissan, which sold the Nissan Skyline, and "Nissan Satio Store" (日産・サティオ店?, Nissan Satio-ten), which sold cars developed from the Nissan Sunny at its introduction in 1966. The word "satio" is Latin, which means ample or sufficient. "Nissan Cherry Store" (日産・チェリー店?, Nissan Cherī-ten) was briefly known previously as "Nissan Cony Store" when they assumed operations of a small kei manufacturer called Aichi Machine Industry Co., Ltd. (愛知機械工業) who manufactured the "Cony", "Guppy" and "Giant" brand of kei cars and trucks until 1970, when the network was renamed for the Nissan Cherry.

Nissan Blue Stage was the result of combining older sales channels, called "Nissan Store" (ja:日産店?, Nissan Mise) in 1955, then renamed "Nissan Bluebird Store" in 1966, selling Nissan's original post-war products called the Datsun Bluebird, Datsun Sports, Datsun Truck, Datsun Cablight, Datsun Cabstar, Nissan Junior, and Nissan Cedric. "Nissan Motor Store" (日産・モーター店?, Nissan Mōtā-ten) was established in 1965, and offered luxury sedans like the Nissan Laurel and the Nissan President. In 1970, Nissan also set up a separate sales chain which sold used cars including auctions, called Nissan U-Cars (ja:日産ユーズドカーセンター?, Nissan Yūzudo Kā Sentā), which they still maintain.

In the early days of Nissan's dealership network, Japanese consumers were directed towards specific Nissan stores for cars that were of a specific size and pricepoint. Over time as sales progressed and the Japanese automotive industry became more prolific, vehicles that were dedicated to particular stores were badge engineered, given different names, and shared within the existing networks thereby selling the same platforms at different locations. The networks allowed Nissan to better compete with the network established earlier by Toyota at Japanese locations. Starting in 1960, another sales distribution channel was established that sold diesel products for commercial use, called Nissan Diesel until the diesel division was sold in 2007 to Volvo AB. To encourage retail sales, Nissan passenger vehicles that were installed with diesel engines, like the Cedric, were available at Nissan Diesel locations.

All cars sold at Nissan Blue Stage (1999–2005):

Fairlady Z, Serena, Cedric, Liberty, Cefiro, Laurel, President, Bluebird, Presage, Presea, Terrano, Leopard, Avenir, Nissan Truck, Safari, Hypermini, Caravan, Murano

All cars sold at Nissan Store (later Nissan Bluebird Store, Nissan Exhibition), Nissan Motor Store, (1955–1999):

Liberta Villa, Bluebird, C80, Caball, Datsun Junior, Datsun Truck, Cabstar, Caravan, Civilian, Patrol, Datsun Sports, Leopard, Maxima, Fairlady Z, Gazelle, Terrano, Avenir, Cefiro, Laurel, Laurel Spirit, Prairie, Cedric, President

All cars sold at Nissan Red Stage (1999–2005):

X-Trail. Teana, Cima, Sylphy, Crew, Skyline, Civilian, Silvia, Tino, Gloria, Pulsar, Sunny, R'nessa, Rasheen, Bassara, Primera, Mistral, Stagea, ADvan, Cube, Largo, Vanette, Clipper, Homy, Elgrand, Safari, Wingroad, Atlas, Murano

All cars sold at Nissan Prince Store, Nissan Satio Store, Nissan Cherry Store (1966–1999):

Cima, Gloria, Skyline, Primera, Auster, Stanza, Violet, Pulsar, Pulsar EXA, NX, Langley, Volkswagen Santana, Volkswagen Passat, 180SX, Safari, Mistral, Elgrand, Homy, Bassara, Largo, Serena, Stagea, Wingroad, Expert, AD van, Vanette, Clipper, Atlas, Homer(cabover truck), Cherry, Sunny, Lucino, Cherry Vanette, Be-1, Pao, Figaro, S-Cargo

Nissan has classified several vehicles as "premium" and select dealerships offer the "Nissan Premium Factory" catalog. Vehicles in this category are:

Skyline, Fuga, Cima, Fairlady Z, Murano, and the Elgrand.

Trucks

Nissan Cabstar (日産・キャブスター Nissan Kyabusutā) is the name used in Japan for two lines of pickup trucks and light commercial vehicles sold by Nissan and built by UD Nissan Diesel, a Volvo AB company and by Renault-Nissan Alliance for the European market. The name originated with the 1968 Datsun Cabstar, but this was gradually changed over to "Nissan" badging in the early 1980s. The lighter range (1-1.5 tons) replaced the earlier Cabstar and Homer, while the heavier Caball and Clipper were replaced by the 2-4 ton range Atlas (日産・アトラス Nissan Atorasu). The nameplate was first introduced in December 1981.The Cabstar is known also as the Nissan Cabstar, Renault Maxity and Samsung SV110 depending on the location. The range has been sold across the world. It shares its platform with the Nissan Caravan.

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2006 Nissan Titan King Cab

The Nissan Titan was introduced in 2004, as a full-size pickup truck produced for the North American market, the truck shares the stretched Nissan F-Alpha platform with the Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 SUVs. It was listed by Edmunds.com as the best full-size truck.

Japan

The first Cabstar (A320) appeared in March 1968, as a replacement for the earlier Datsun Cablight. It is a cab-over engine truck and was available either as a truck, light van (glazed van), or as a "route van" (bus). It uses the 1189 cc Nissan D12 engine with 56 PS (41 kW). After some modifications and the new 1.3 liter J13 engine, with 67 PS (49 kW), in August 1970 the code became A321. The Cabstar underwent another facelift with an entirely new front clip in May 1973. The 1483 cc J15 engine became standard fitment at this time (PA321), with 77 PS (57 kW) at 5200 rpm. The Cabstar was placed just beneath the slightly bigger Homer range in Nissan's commercial vehicle lineup. It received a full makeover in January 1976, although the van models were not replaced.

Second generation

The F20 Nissan Homer, introduced in January 1976, was also sold as the Nissan Datsun Cabstar in Japan. Both ranges were sold with either a 1.5 (J15) or a 2.0 liter (H20) petrol inline-four or with the 2.2 liter SD22 diesel engine. The F20 received a desmogged engine range in September 1979 and with it a new chassis code, F21. Manufacturing of the heavier range (H40-series) Atlas began in December 1981, while the lighter series Atlas (F22) was introduced in February 1982 - this succeeded both the Homer and Cabstar ranges and the nameplate has not been used in the Japanese market since.

Europe

The Atlas F22 was sold in Europe as the Nissan Cabstar and proved a popular truck in the UK market due to its reliability and ability to carry weight. From 1990 the range widened and was sold as the Cabstar E. Actually (2015) the Cabstar is manufactured in the NSIO (Nissan Spanish Industrial Operations) Plant in Ávila, Spain under the brand name of NT400.

Electric vehicles

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Nissan e-NV200 all-electric commercial van

Nissan introduced its first battery electric vehicle, the Nissan Altra at the Los Angeles International Auto Show on 29 December 1997. Unveiled in 2009, the EV-11 prototype electric car was based on the Nissan Tiida (Versa in North America), with the conventional gasoline engine replaced with an all-electric drivetrain.

In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF as the first mass-market, all-electric vehicle launched globally. As of March 2014, the Nissan Leaf was the world's best selling highway-capable all-electric car ever. Global sales totaled 100,000 Leafs by mid January 2014, representing a 45% market share of worldwide pure electric vehicles sold since 2010. Global Leaf sales passed the 200,000 unit milestone in December 2015, and the Leaf continued ranking as the all-time best selling all-electric car.

Nissan's second all-electric vehicle, the Nissan e-NV200, was announced in November 2013. Series production at the Nissan Plan in Barcelona, Spain, began on May 7, 2014. The e-NV200 commercial van is based on the Nissan Leaf. Nissan plans to launch two additional battery electric vehicles by March 2017.

In June 2016, Nissan announced it will introduce its first range extender car in Japan before March 2017. The series plug-in hybrid will use a new hybrid system, dubbed e-Power, which debuted with the Nissan Gripz concept crossover showcased at the September 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. As of August 2016, Nissan electric vehicles were sold in 48 world markets. Nissan global electric vehicle sales passed 275,000 units in December 2016.

Autonomous cars

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Nissan autonomous car prototype technology was fitted on a Nissan Leaf all-electric car.

In August 2013 Nissan announced its plans to launch several driverless cars by 2020. The company is building a dedicated autonomous driving proving ground in Japan, to be completed in 2014. Nissan installed its autonomous car technology in a Nissan Leaf all-electric car for demonstration purposes. The car was demonstrated at Nissan 360 test drive event held in California in August 2013. In September 2013, the Leaf fitted with the prototype Advanced Driver Assistance System was granted a license plate that allows to drive it on Japanese public roads. The testing car will be used by Nissan engineers to evaluate how its in-house autonomous driving software performs in the real world. Time spent on public roads will help refine the car’s software for fully automated driving. The autonomous Leaf was demonstrated on public roads for the first time at a media event held in Japan in November 2013. The Leaf drove on the Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, near Tokyo. Nissan vice chairman Toshiyuki Shiga and the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, rode in the car during the test.

Non-automotive products

Nissan has also had a number of ventures outside the automotive industry, most notably the Tu–Ka mobile phone service (est. 1994), which was sold to DDI and Japan Telecom (both now merged into KDDI) in 1999. Nissan offers a subscription-based telematics service in select vehicles to drivers in Japan, called CarWings. Nissan also owns Nissan Marine, a joint venture with Tohatsu Corp that produces motors for smaller boats and other maritime equipment.

Nissan also built the M-V orbital rocket.

Marketing activities

Nismo is the motorsports division of Nissan, founded in 1984. Nismo cars have participated in the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, Super GT, IMSA GT Championship, World Sportscar Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, British Touring Car Championship, Supercars Championship and Blancpain GT Series. Also, they were featured at the World Series by Nissan from 1998 to 2004.

Nissan sponsored the Los Angeles Open golf tournament from 1987 to 2007.

Beginning in 2015, Nissan became the naming rights sponsor for Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans and Tennessee State University football teams in Nashville. Nissan also became the official sponsor of the Heisman Trophy and UEFA Champions League.

Global sales figures

Calendar year Global sales
2010 4,080,588
2011 4,669,981
2012 4,940,181
2013 5,102,979
2014 5,310,064
2015 5,421,804
2016 5,559,902

Manufacturing locations

Data extracted from Nissan's international corporate website.

International locations of Nissan factories 2013.svg
World locations of Nissan Motor factories as of 2013

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