Datsun / Nissan

Datsun Nissan

Datsun / Nissan

The Birth of a Name: DATSUN

The logo Datsun was only prevalent in the North America market, thanks to Yutaka Katayama when the Nissan branch in North America was formed by Mr. Katayama it being named; "Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A." and was chartered on September 28, 1960 in California.

Corporate choice favored using the name "Datsun" so as to distance the parent factory Nissan's association by Americans with Japanese military manufacture. In fact Nissan’s involvement in Japan's military industries was substantial. The company’s car production at the Yokohama plant was shifted towards military needs just a few years after the first passenger cars rolled off the assembly line, on April 1935.

By 1939 Nissan's operation had moved to Manchuria, then under Japanese occupation, where its founder and President, Yoshisuke Ayukawa, established the Manchurian Motor Company to manufacture military trucks.

Before the Datsun brand name came into being, an automobile named the DAT car was built in 1914, by the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works, in the Azabu-Hiroo District in Tokyo. The new cars name was an acronym of the company’s three partners; Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi.

The firm renamed Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co in 1918, seven years after their establishment and again in 1925 to DAT Motorcar Co.  DAT Motors constructed trucks in addition to the DAT passenger cars.  In fact, their output focused on trucks since there was almost no consumer market for passenger cars at that time.  Beginning in 1918, the first DAT trucks were assembled for the military market. The low demand from the military market during the 1920s forced DAT to consider merging with other automotive industries.

In 1926 the Tokyo-based DAT Motors merged with the Osaka-based Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd. also known as Jitsuyo Motors (established in 1919 as a Kubota subsidiary) to become DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd in Osaka until 1932. 

There never was an actual "Datsun" company, as the brand name was used in production only by DAT Motors and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

The name was actually created in 1931 by the DAT Motorcar Co for a new car model, spelling it as "Datson" to indicate its smaller size when compared to the existing, large DAT car. Later, in 1933 after Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. took control of DAT Motor Car Co. The last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", because "son" also means "loss" in Japanese, hence the name "Datsun": Dattosan.

The Datsun brand was discontinued in March, 1986. The Datsun name is most famous for the sports cars referred to as the Fairlady roadsters and later the Fairlady (240Z) coupes.

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