The long-standing Japanese automaker can trace its origins back nearly a whole century. Its earliest roots are found with the The Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works, which was founded by a Japanese industrialist named Masujiro Hashimoto. Mr. Hashimoto’s company originally specialized in heavy duty trucks built for commercial and military use, as there was almost no market for consumer automobiles in Japan at that time. The country was mostly poor, rural, and undeveloped. People either used traditional, human or animal-powered forms of transportation or just stayed relatively close to home.
The Nissan name was first used on a vehicle in 1933. The word is actually a shortened reworking of the term Nippon Sangyo, which means “Japan Industries” and was the full name of the company at that point. Leading up to the World War II era, the vehicle maker merged with 74 other manufacturing firms to form one of the biggest industrial “combines” in the country. Much of their output was directed towards the country’s rapidly expanding imperial military.
Following a period of initial post-war reconstruction, the company began to rapidly grow again in the 1950s. It’s main focus was now consumer-oriented passengers cars. By the end of the decade, it had expanded its operation to a number of major international markets, including the United States and Australia. Interestingly, though, most Nissans during this period were sold under the company’s “Datsun” nameplate. It wouldn’t be until the 1980s, in most markets, that the company would switch over to its current brand name.
5 Fascinating Things You Might Not Know About Nissan Cars
The GT-R is just the latest in a long line of ultra-high performance models. While the current, record-setting GT-R is the first version to be built from the ground up as a dedicated supercar, it’s definitely not the first one to have thrilled car enthusiasts. The original GT-R, which was essentially a performance-tuned version of the company’s mainstream Skyline coupe, debuted all the way back in 1969.
The GT-R has set several records at the famed Nurburgring racetrack. When it debuted in 2007, the GT-R was one of the world’s fastest cars. Particularly at its modest, sub-100k USD price point, very little could touch it when it came to pure performance. It famously bested the Porsche 911 Turbo around the long and twisting Nurburgring raceway.
The current 370Z is the sixth generation of the “Z” car. Before Nissan Cars released the 240Z back in 1968, Japan had never produced a “real” sports car. The 240Z proved that the country could make performance machines on par with those from Europe and the U.S. While there have been many great Japanese sports cars in the decades since, the “Z” remains an affordable, stylish, fun to drive favorite of performance enthusiasts.
The Leaf is among the first all-electric vehicles on the market. This innovative car’s name is actually an acronym for “Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car.” It was introduced in the U.S. and Japan in 2010 and delivers 99 miles per gallon.
The Xterra SUV features an integrated first aid kit. In order to bolster its image as an adventure-ready 4×4, the Xterra has a distinctive hump in the rear hatch that houses a fully-equipped first aid kit. This makes it a great vehicle for long trips.
Top Nissan Cars Models
Currently, the company offers over 15 distinct models for sale. Their lineup includes an extremely wide range of different vehicle types: from the compact, affordable Versa to the rugged, 8-passenger Armada to the exclusive, high-tech GT-R. Their top five best-selling models are: