Nissan is a Japanese manufacturer that sells a complete range of cars and trucks, from subcompact to full-size pickups. Through the years, the company has developed a habit of developing niche vehicles, and one of the first to mass-produce a modern, 100% electric car.
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Following a series of acquisitions, the company entered the vehicle manufacturing business by establishing the Nissan Motor Company in 1933. The first model is the four-seater Datsun 12 Phaeton, followed in subsequent years by the 14 Roadster, the 15 Phaeton and Roadster, the 16 Sedan, the 17 Sedan, the 1937 Nissan Van and the 1938 Nissan Passenger Car.
After WWII, business started to pick up again, and Nissan first post-war car was the 1947 Standard Sedan Type DA. Deluxe Sedan Type DB and Thrift Sedan Type DS followed in subsequent years. The ‘50s also marked the launches of the Datsun Sports Type DC convertible, the Datsun 110, 210 and 211 sedans as well as the A20 Cablight truck. An agreement with English automaker Austin led to producing the A40 Somerset Saloon and A50 Cambridge Saloon in Japan.
The now-famous Skyline was originally developed and introduced in 1957 by the Prince Motor Company, who merged with Nissan in 1966. Prince also produced the Skyline coupe and convertible as well as the Skyway wagon, and at the same time, the Datsun 310 Bluebird appeared. The Cedric Custom, introduced in 1960, was developed using manufacturing techniques acquired with the collaboration with Austin.
The 1958 Datsun 1200 is the company’s first car sold in USA. The Nissan Motor Company USA was established in 1960.
Another historic name was born in 1962; the Fairlady roadster won the first Japan Grand Prix race in 1963. Other new models in the ‘60s includes the SPL 210, the 6-cylinder S40 Gloria sedan, the Datsun 320 and 520 trucks, the Datsun A120, A220 Cablight and A320 Cabstar trucks, the Nissan Silvia coupe, the Datsun B10 Sunny, the Datsun 510 and the Datsun C30 Laurel.
Meanwhile, the 1965 Prince R380 sports car established 5 world speed records and the Nissan R380 Type II notched 7 international speed records. 1968 also welcomed the Skyline GT-R, a moniker that still stands today as Nissan’s high-performance flagship.
1970 is also a milestone in Nissan’s history with the launch of the Datsun 240Z. The 520 and 720 pickups, 310, 710, 810, 200SX and 280ZX also followed in that decade. In 1973, Nissan celebrated its 1-millionth vehicle sold in America.
In the ‘80s, the Datsun brand was eventually replaced by Nissan on all North American vehicles, and models such as the Micra, the Sentra, the Pulsar, the Hardbody pickup, the Stanza, the Maxima, the Multi, the Pathfinder and the 240SX and the 300ZX appeared.
The following decade also brought a few new models, such as the Axxess and Quest minivans, the NX coupe, the Altima, the Hustler and Frontier pickups as well redesigned versions of well-established products. Nissan also busy launching their standalone luxury division called Infiniti. In 1999, Nissan formed an alliance with French automaker Renault.
After the year 2000, Nissan introduced bigger trucks to the American market, such as the full-size Titan pickup, the X-Trail, Xterra and Armada SUVs, the Rogue and Murano crossovers as well as the 350Z, more versions of the Altima and the subcompact Versa. Global sales for Nissan reached the 4-million mark in 2010.
Nissan’s current line-up of vehicles includes the Versa, the subcompact cube, the 100% electric Leaf, the compact Sentra, the mid-size Altima coupe, sedan and Hybrid, the Maxima, the Juke, Rogue and Murano crossovers, the Xterra, Pathfinder and Armada SUVs, the Quest minivan, the Frontier and Titan pickups, the NV commercial truck as well as the 370Z and GT-R sports cars.
There's a lot of leap-frogging going on in the car world today as manufacturers seek to outdo the competition. This is greatly assisted by the fact that technologic advances constantly outpace model updates, often leaving the soon-to-be-updated product looking slightly past its best-before date.
That was no ordinary Juke waiting for me in the parking lot at Auto123. When I took possession of the fun little toy that is the high-performance 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO, I wondered: Who is it for? With unique styling and size, the Juke NISMO looks like a cross between a hatchback and a small SUV.
Here, in North America, we have yet to fully embrace the value of micro and subcompact cars. There are a number of reasons for this and they vary from a litre of fuel still being too inexpensive to driving on the highway along side full-size pickups for fear of being crushed like a bug.
Few can argue with the overwhelming value of a minivan when it comes to affordably moving around families, their things and their pets. Sliding doors, plenty of space for the money, and plenty of versatility make a minivan a machine that's ready for anything -- including growing up with and adapting to the family that's made it their own.
If you missed our complete coverage of the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show last week, this top 10 showcasing the finest vehicles unveiled in the City of Angels will surely give you an eyeful.
For the 2013 model year, Nissan improved on what was already an impressive mass-produced electric car.