The first Datsun was built in 1914 in Tokyo. The company meandered along, merging with other companies. In 1933, the company moved to Yokohama and the car division became known as Nissan Motor Co. Nissan then established close ties with Austin of England, making cars under license. It then used Austin engines as a basis for its own cars. The 1960’s saw Nissan getting seriously into exporting cars. It merged with Prince cars in 1966, giving Nissan Skyline and Gloria models. The 70’s and 80’s was a time when Nissan opened factories overseas. Also, a luxury brand Infiniti was introduced by Nissan in 1989 and is now sold in 15 countries.
By 1999, Nissan was experiencing severe financial difficulties. This led to Renault acquiring a 44% stake in the company, while Nissan in turn took a 15% share in Renault. Since that event, Nissan’s fortunes have turned around dramatically, leading to record profits.
Today, Nissan has factories in many countries, making it truly international. Of the 3.3 million passenger vehicles made in 2007, 1,050,000 (32%) were sourced in Japan, 700,000 (21%) from the USA, 500,000 (15%) Mexico, 350,000 (11%) the UK, 300,000 (9%) China and Spain 225,000 (7%). The other seven countries account for 5.5%.
With it’s unusual alliance with Renault, Nissan is doing well and for the present time is riding the stormy car market better than most.