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For the truck and bus maker "Nissan Diesel," a separate company from Nissan Motors; please see UD instead.

 ( ), shortened to Nissan, is a multinational automaker headquartered in Japanmarker. It was formerly a core member of the Nissan Group, but has become more independent after its restructuring under Carlos Ghosn (CEO).


It formerly marketed vehicles under the "Datsun" brand name and is one of the largest car manufacturers. As of August 2009, the company's global headquarters are located in Nishi-ku, Yokohamamarker. In 1999, Nissan entered an alliance with Renault S.A. of Francemarker, which owns 44.4% of Nissan as of 2008. Nissan is among the top three Asian (also known as the Japanese Big 3 Automakers) rivals of the "Big Three" in the U.S. Currently it is the third largest Japanese car manufacturer. It also manufactures the Infiniti luxury brand.

The Nissan VQ engines, of V6 configuration, have featured among Ward's 10 Best Engines for 14 straight years, since the award's inception.

The pronunciation of its name is different in different markets. In the U.S., the brand is , while in the UK it is . In Japanese, it is .

History

Beginnings of Datsun name from 1914

The new car's name was an acronym of the company's partners' family names:
  • .


Nissan Model 70 Phaeton, 1938
It was renamed to Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co. in 1918, and again to 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. Beginning in 1918, the first DAT trucks were produced for the military market. It was the low demand of the military market in the 1920s that forced DAT to merge in 1926 with Japan's 2nd most successful truck maker, Jitsuyo Motors.

In 1926 the Tokyo-based DAT Motors merged with the Osaka-based a.k.a. Jitsuyo Motors (established 1919, as a Kubota subsidiary) to become in Osaka until 1932.



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" (損) in Japanese, hence the name .

In 1933, the company name was Nipponized to and was moved to Yokohama.

Nissan name first used in 1930s

First President Yoshisuke Aikawa in 1939
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" used on the Tokyo stock market for Nippon Sangyo. This company was the famous Nissan "Zaibatsu" (combine) 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.

Nissan would eventually grow to include 74 firms, and to be the fourth-largest combine in Japan during World War II.

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.

Nissan Motors founded 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 (Nissan)". . 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 Nippon Industries) in June, 1934. At this time Nissan Motors effectively became owned by Nippon Sangyo and Hitachi.

Nissan built trucks, airplanes, and engines for the Japanese military. The company's main plant was moved to China after land there was captured by Japan. The plant made machinery for the Japanese war effort until it was captured by American and Russian forces. For two years (1947 to 1948) the company was briefly called Nissan Heavy Industries Corp.

Nissan's early American connection

DAT had inherited Kubota's chief designer who was an American, William R. Gorham. This, along with Aikawa's vision-inspiring 1908 visit to Detroitmarker was to greatly affect Nissan's future.

Although it had always been Aikawa's intention to use the latest cutting-edge auto making technology from America, it was Gorham that carried out the plan. All the machinery, vehicle designs and engine designs originally came out of the United Statesmarker. Much of the tooling came from the Graham factory and Nissan had a Graham license under which trucks were made. The machinery was imported into Japan by Mitsubishi on behalf of Nissan, which went into the first Yokohama factory to produce cars.

Relationship with Ford Motor Company

From 1993-2002 Nissan partnered with Ford to market a consumer-friendly minivan: The Mercury Villager and the Nissan Quest. The two minivans were manufactured with all the same parts and were virtually identical aside from several cosmetic differences. In 2002, Ford discontinued the Villager to make room for the future Freestar and Monterey. Nissan brought out a new version of the Quest in 2004, which was designed in house and no longer related to any Ford model.

In 1992, Nissan re-launched its Terrano four-wheel drive, which was visually and mechanically identical to the Ford Maverick. Both cars were built in Spainmarker; although the Maverick was discontinued in 1998 due to disappointing sales, the Terrano was a strong seller and remained in production until 2005 when the Nissan Pathfinder replaced it.

Tie-ups with Austin Motor Company

Like Hino and Isuzu, but unlike Toyota, Nissan partnered with an established European company to gain access to automobile and engine designs. Nissan chose Austin of the United Kingdommarker, which later became the British Motor Corporation by its merger with Morris et al. Nissan began building Austin 7s in 1930, though the legitimacy of their license at that time is debated.

Later, in 1952 Nissan Motor Company of Japan entered into a well-documented 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 slightly larger body with new 1489 cc engine—was on the market in Japan. Nissan produced 20,855 Austins from 1953-1959.

Engine Development: 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 1967. Also 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. The 240Z was an immediate sensation and lifted Nissan to world class status in the automobile market.

Merger with Prince Motor Company

In 1966, Nissan merged with the Prince Motor Company, bringing into its range more upmarket cars, including the Skyline and Gloria. The Prince name was eventually abandoned, with successive Skylines and Glorias bearing the Nissan name - however, "Prince" is still used in names of certain Nissan dealers in Japan. Nissan introduced a new luxury brand for the US market in the early 1990s called Infiniti.

Foreign expansion

In the 1950s, Nissan made a conscious decision 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 Statesmarker. They first showed cars at the 1959 Los Angelesmarker auto show, and sold a few cars that year in the United States. The company formed a U.S. subsidiary, Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A., in 1959, headed by Yutaka Katayama. By continually technologically improving their sedans, along with chic Italianate styling and adding sporty cars such as the Datsun Fairlady roadsters, the sporty and race-winning 411 series, the Datsun 510 and the world-class Datsun 240Z sports car, by 1970 Nissan had become one of the world's largest exporters of automobiles.
2009
In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, consumers worldwide (especially in the lucrative U.S. market) began turning in rapidly increasing numbers to high-quality small economy cars. Nissan made a conscious decision for their growing economy car lines to have a "sporting" flavor, and set up new factories in Mexicomarker, Australia, Taiwanmarker and South Africa.

By the early sixties, the US had begun placing stiff import tariffs on certain vehicles. The Chicken tax of 1964 placed a 25% tax on imported commercials vans. In response to the tariff, Nissan, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. began building plants in the U.S. by the early eighties.

Nissan itself established assembly operations in the United States in the early 1980s, with a plant in Smyrna, Tennesseemarker. This facility at first built only trucks and SUVs, such as the 720, Hardbody, and Pathfinder, but has since been expanded to produce several car lines. An engine plant in Decherd, Tennesseemarker followed, and most recently a second assembly plant in Canton, Mississippimarker.

In order to overcome export tariffs and delivery costs to its European customers, Nissan contemplated establishing a plant inside Europe's borders. After an extensive review, Washingtonmarker in the North East United Kingdom was chosen due to the local availability of a highly skilled workforce and its position near major ports. The plant was completed in 1986 as the subsidiary Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltdmarker. Since then it has arisen to achieve the highly coveted title of being the most productive plant in Europe, and by 2007 will be producing 400,000 vehicles per year.

Financial difficulties (approaching billions) in Australia in the late 1980s caused Nissan to cease production there. Due to the "Button Plan" the Australian operation was unique as the Nissan products were also re-badged both by General Motors Holden (Pulsar re-badged as Holden Astra), and Ford (Bluebird re-badged as Ford Corsair).

In 2005, Nissan setup operations in Indiamarker, through its subsidiary Nissan Motors India Pvt. Ltd.http://www.nissan.in/en/web/header/header_4385.htm With its global alliance partner, Renault, Nissan is investing $920 Million to set up a manufacturing facility in Chennaimarker to cater to the Indian market as well as a base for exports of small cars to Europe.http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5019205.cms

Trucks

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.

The Titan features a 32 valve 5.6 L VK56DE V8 engine which generates 317 hp, and is capable of towing approximately 9500 pounds. The Nissan Titan comes in four basic trim levels: XE, SE, Pro-4X, and LE. The trim levels are combinations of the features offered on the truck.It was listed by Edmunds.com as the best full-size truck. The Titan was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2004.

Alliance with Renault

In 1999, with Nissan facing severe financial difficulties, Nissan 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 Japanesemarker and a Frenchmarker 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, Nissan fired its top Japanese executives.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is much closer, in practice to Renault takeover of Nissan with 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 Japanmarker 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 Japanese Government, which awarded him the Japan Medal with Blue Ribbon in 2004.

The first product of the Nissan-Renault alliance was the Nissan 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 Motor Co v. Nissan Computer Corporation

In December 1999, legal action was instituted by Nissan Motors seeking $10,000,000 in damages from Uzi Nissan, president of Nissan Computer. In December 2002, Uzi Nissan was handed an injunction restricting his use of the Nissan name and the domains Nissan.com and Nissan.net which he owns.

In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, allowed Nissan Computer to appeal the case, which resulted in reversal of some findings previously in favor of Nissan Motors.

On February 5, 2008, Final Judgement was entered for the case, with Nissan Computer being awarded costs and neither party prevailing. Immediately following the ruling, Nissan Motors filed a trademark application for Computer Equipment in March 2008 , viewed by some as an attempt to acquire the domain through UDRP, an arbitration panel proceeding which often finds in favor of trademark holders.

Recent news

The Nissan Note, Micra and Qashqai in the UK are all produced at their UK factory in Washington, Tyne & Wearmarker. On January 9, 2009, it was announced that 1,200 jobs were to be cut at the Washington plant. The decision was blamed on economic reasons, including a downturn in the car selling market. Nissan's senior vice-president for manufacturing in Europe, Trevor Mann, said the company was "right-sizing our operations to the market demand." Nissan also produces cars at its factory at Roslyn, near Pretoriamarker, South Africa.

Recently, it was announced that Nissan will axe 1200 jobs from the Washington factory as there is a sharp reduction in the number of cars being bought.

Nissan North America relocated its headquarters from Gardena, Californiamarker to Nashville, Tennesseemarker in July 2006. A new headquarters, Nissan Americas, was dedicated on July 22, 2008, in the Cool Springs area of Franklin, Tennesseemarker. Approximately 1500 employees work in the facility.

On June 30, 2006, General Motors convened an emergency board meeting to discuss a proposal by shareholder Kirk Kerkorian to form an alliance between GM and Renault-Nissan. On October 4, 2006, however, GM and Nissan terminated talks because of the chasm between the two companies related to compensation to GM from Nissan.

On May 17, 2006 Nissan released the Atlas 20 hybrid truck in Japan. It released a Cabstar hybrid truck at the 2006 Hannover Fair.

The company's head office moved from Tokyo back to Yokohama in August 2009.

On February 23, 2008 The Tamil Nadumarker state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with auto manufacturing consortium, Mahindra-Renault- Nissan to set up a production unit at Oragadam in suburban Chennaimarker.

The consortium comprising Indianmarker auto major Mahindra and Mahindra, Renault (France) and Nissan (Japan) will begin with an initial investment of Rs4000 crore to manufacture nearly 50,000 tractors every year other than cars, utility vehicles and spare parts. The project is expected to increase Tamil Nadu’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Rs18,000 crore annually while providing 41,000 jobs.

Nissan began development of fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) in 1996 and launched limited lease sales of the X-Trail FCV in Japan in fiscal year 2003.

In 2002, Toyota and Nissan agree to tie-up on hybrid technologies, and in 2004, Nissan unveiled the Altima hybrid prototype.

Environmental record

Until recently , Nissan Motors has had no special environmental record, at least as perceived relative to its competition. This may change in the future owing to a new emphasis on the development, production and marketing of electric automobiles.Nissan is planning to sell electric cars in California by 2010 (although only to fleet customers, a common method of introducing new technology). The company claims to have an EV model out that has a maximum speed of and can go 100 miles per charge. It is projected to take eight hours to fully charge the car. Nissan's car uses a lithium ion battery. The vehicle is intended for short distances, and is not meant for replacing traditional cars for long trips. As with other electric cars these products from Nissan won't emit pollutants from their exhaust. Any pollution involved in their operation would come from the production of the electricity needed to charge the car, depending on the type of power generation facility. Nissan has chosen to develop 100 percent electric cars rather than biofuel or ethanol running cars based upon cost analysis. On May 12, 2009, Nissan announced the company will produce EVs at its Oppama plant from fall 2010 with capacity of 50,000 units a year. Batteries for EVs will be supplied by Automotive Energy Supply Corporation, a joint-venture between Nissan (51%), NEC Corporation (42%) and NEC TOKIN Corporation (7%).

Leadership

Presidents and Chief Executive Officers of Nissan:

Products

Automotive products

Main articles: List of Nissan vehicles and List of Nissan engines.
Nissan has produced an extensive range of mainstream cars and trucks, initially for domestic consumption but exported around the world since the 1950s. There was a major strike in 1953.

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.Nismo's latest model is the 370z NISMO.

They recently launched mid-sized Nissan Navara truck, which has .

Until 1982, Nissan automobiles in most export markets were sold under the Datsun brand. Since 1989, Nissan has sold its luxury models in North America under the Infiniti brand.

Nissan also sells a small range of kei cars, mainly as a joint venture with other Japanese manufacturers like Suzuki or Mitsubishi. Nissan does not develop these cars. 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. This is the first in the range of a new worldwide family of medium sized cars and is to make its world debut at the Guangzhou International Motor Show.

Nissan launches Qashqai SUV in South Africa, along with their new motorsport Qashqai Car Games.

Electric vehicles

Nissan will launch electric cars in Europe in 2010 with different business models in different countries.

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 Corporation) in 1999. Nissan also owns Nissan Marine, a joint venture with Tohatsu Corp that produces motors for boats and other maritime equipment.

Manufacturing locations

Data extracted from Nissan's international corporate website.

World locations of Nissan Motors factories


See also



Notes and references



External links




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