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Eighty years of major motion…from Nissan

Thu, 26 Dec 2013

Today, Dec. 26, 2013, Nissan claims to celebrate 80 years of "moving people with innovative and exciting cars," according to a tersely worded press release. But like all stories, the press release is only the happy, corporate-sanitized version: the real story is a bit more involved than that.

Eighty years would place Nissan's founding on Dec. 26, 1933. The Nihon Sangyo Corp. came about in 1928 as a holding company for organizations as diverse as Hitachi electronics and Tobata Casting -- and DAT Motors, which was affiliated starting in 1931. As a subsidiary of Tobata Casting, DAT introduced its second car, a smaller model called the Datson Type 10. "Datson," of course, meant "Son of DAT." In Japanese, the word "son" also means "loss." Hence, a name change to "sun," which also helped allude to the Japanese flag -- and that is how we get "Datsun."

Nihon Sangyo and Tobata Casting finally acquired DAT and renamed the entire company "Datsun." The date? Dec. 26, 1933. Nihon Sangyo was shortened, too -- into "Nissan."

Since then, Nissan and Datsun alike have made their marks on the world stage with cars like the GT-R, the Juke, the Cube, the Cedric, the "AWESOME" 280ZX, the Saurus Jr. (which battled in the one-make Saurus Cup), the Moco (which means "booger" in Spanish) the Alfa Romeo Arna, the greatest car commercial ever, "The True Life of Carlos Ghosn" (a hotly collectible manga about the head of Renault-Nissan), and the absolutely genius EXA Canopy.

Mark Vaughn got to check out some historic Nissans during the Tokyo Auto Show, which he wrote about here.

And Nissan Motor Co. wouldn't start building cars under the Nissan name until June 1, 1934. That's coming right up, in fact. On June 1, 2014, we'll look forward to another tersely worded press release.

Image from Autos of Interest

By Blake Z. Rong