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The new Nissan logo
Nissan logo | BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Nissan is a Japanese automotive manufacturing division of the Nissan Motor Corporation, which also owns the Infiniti luxury brand. Nissan is currently a member of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance of automakers. The brand is best known for its popularization of electric cars (EVs) with the Leaf (much as the Toyota Prius was to hybrids) and the numerous scandals of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

The Nissan Motor Corporation was founded in 1931 as a Zaibatsu, originally named as an abbreviation for the holding company Nihon Sangyo. After the Datsun brand and company became affiliated with Nissan, the latter began car production, creating the Nissan Motor division. This resulted in building the Datsun Type 15 as Nissan’s first product in 1937, followed by trucks and airplanes for war efforts.

Other ventures over the years included Nissan building Austin 7s for the British Austin Motor Company in 1952, its expansion into the United States automotive market throughout the 1950s, the merger with the Japanese Prince Motor Company in 1966 that resulted in the creation of the Skyline nameplate, the design of the legendary Nissan Z (also known as the Fairlady) in 1969, its establishment of Nismo (it’s in-house motorsports and performance brand) in 1985, and its alliance with Renault in 1999.

Featured Vehicle: Ariya

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All Nissan Vehicles:


Versa: A subcompact sedan or hatchback (Versa Note)

Sentra: A compact sedan that replaced the Sunny

Leaf: An all-electric compact hatchback, stylized as “LEAF”

Altima: A midsize sedan that replaced the Bluebird and Stanza models

Maxima: A full-size premium sedan and flagship car of Nissan that replaced the Datsun 810

370Z: The sixth generation of the Nissan Z sports car coupe

GT-R: A high-performance sports car coupe

SUVs and Minivans:

Kicks: A subcompact SUV that replaced the Juke in the U.S.

Rogue Sport: A more compact version of the Rogue, also known as the Qashqai

Rogue: A compact SUV that replaced the Xterra and is the best-selling Nissan model in America

Ariya: An upcoming all-electric compact SUV that’s Nissan’s first EV in a new electrification plan

Murano: A premium midsize SUV, once available as a convertible and hybrid model

Pathfinder: A midsize SUV based on the Bushmaster line of pickup trucks

Armada: A full-size SUV with boxy styling that’s based on the Nissan Titan


Frontier: A midsize pickup truck, also known as the Navara

Titan: A full-size pickup truck that shares its platform with the Armada

Commercial Vehicles:

NV200: A compact cargo or passenger van

NV: A full-size cargo or passenger van

Recently Discontinued Vehicles

Cube: A boxy subcompact hatchback that competed against the Chevy HHR and Kia Soul

Juke: A notoriously (subjectively) ugly subcompact SUV that was replaced by the Kicks in the U.S.

Xterra: A compact SUV based on the Frontier that was replaced by the Rogue

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