Is Nissan a Japanese Car Company?

Nissan Motor Companies is a popular car maker in the US. It is also popular in other countries such as China, Russia, and Mexico. In fact, according to Wikipedia, in 2014 Nissan was the largest auto manufacturer in North America. So where does Nissan originally hail from? Is Nissan a Japanese car company?

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What does Nissan mean?

The Nissan name came straight from Japan. The founder, Yoshisuke Aikawa stepped into the role of the company present for Nihon Sangyo in the year 1928. At that point in time, the company oversaw operations of foundries and auto parts. The Nihon Sangyo made its appearance in 1933 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as NISSAN––its “ticker” name (think NASDAQ). The ticker name stuck as the official Nissan brand name and badging icon.

“The company traces its name to the Nissan zaibatsu, now called Nissan Group.”

Wikipedia | Nissan

After that, Nissan began expanding. It reached far out of Japan to gain a global presence in the auto industry. By 1958, Nissan started planting roots in the United States. According to Nissan USA, it all began the Datsun––the first mass-produced Japanese car.

Early Datsun pickup truck | Nissan
Early Datsun pickup truck | Nissan

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Nissan in America

Nissan Motor Companies, Ltd. was found in Japan in 1933. However, the first Nissans came to the US in 1958 as Datsun. On the same platform as the Datsun pickup truck, the Datson 1000 was Nissan’s first delve into the American auto market. The Japanese car company sold nearly 150 units of the 1000 before introducing the Datsun 1200 sedan. Then, we saw the first Nissan truck on US soil in 1959.

A 1959 Datsun 1000 sedan is displayed during the Motor Sport Japan 2017
A 1959 Datsun 1000 is displayed during the Motor Sport Japan 2017 | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

The Datsun pickup truck came to the US and helped the Japanese car company become Nissan in America. This Datsun pickup truck is the predecessor to pickup trucks that Nissan produces for the North American market today. Familiar trucks like the Nissan Frontier and the Nissan Titan all come from this original Datsun truck.

The first of these trucks debuted at the LA Auto Show in 1959. In 1966 the truck had gained serious traction. So, Nissan began producing the pickups in Mexico. Then, production in Australia and Taiwan came next, according to Nissan USA. The first American factory for the production of Nissan vehicles opened in 1983 in Smyrna Tennessee.

2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X
2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X | Nissan

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Where is the Nissan headquarters?

The Nissan Motor Companies, Ltd. headquarters in the US are located in California. Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A. (NMC) established in Gardena, CA in 1960. Because of the 1966 factory in Mexico, Nissan was also the first Japanese car company to manufacture its vehicles in North America.

The official headquarters for Nissan Motor Corporation, or Nissan Group, is in Japan. The multinational automaker is located in Nishi-ku Yokohama, Japan. There are operations worldwide, but Nissan is technically a Japanese car company.

Woman walking by a big Nissan logo on the wall.
Nissian logo | MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

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Electric cars

According to History, Nissan Motor Companies, Ltd. was the first Japanese automaker to earn the Deming Prize for engineering excellence. Since then, the company has continued to grow and innovate. This means keeping up with the growing demand for alternative solutions to gas-powered cars. Electric vehicles made by Nissan are on roads all over the world.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus
2019 Nissan Leaf Plus | Nissan

According to the Nissan Wikipedia page, with the help of models like the Nissan Leaf Nissan was the world leader in sales of electric cars. In 2018 the company was surpasses by Tesla. However, Nissan continues to produce the Nissan Leaf, the Altra, and the Hypermini for the global demand for electric cars.