Nissan is a company that's often seen as being in the middle. It's not a luxury or performance brand, and it's not your "cookie-cutter" American company either. If one had to choose a word to describe the Nissan brand, it would probably be "sporty." Nissan (short for Nissan Motor Company Ltd.) is a Japanese automaker with a lot to offer its drivers. Nissan was established in December of 1933 by several different men: Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama, Masujiro Hashimoto, Yoshisuke Aikawa, and Meitaro Takeuchi. Aikawa is probably the best known, due to the fact that he was the company's original President from 1931 to 1945.
Nissan had a not-so humble beginning. When it was established as "Automobile Manufacturing Co. Ltd." (English translation) in 1933, the company took over all manufacturing operations for the Datsun company through Tobata Casting's automobile division. The Yokohama Plant's first small passenger Datsun came off the assembly line two years later in 1935. Nissan's history goes back much further than this, however. The company's origins can be traced all the way back to an auto factory called Kwaishinsha Co. in 1911 and the factory's first production of Dat Car (a small, boxy car). This is where Hashimoto and his backers (the others founders listed) come into the mix. The Jitsuyo Jidosha Company was another predecessor of Nissan. It produced three-wheeled vehicles. These two companies joined in 1926, shortly after joined forces with Tobata Casting five years later, and two years after that, Nissan was finally born.
Soon after the company gained its new namesake, Nissan purchases a factor in America to manufacture trucks and cars; however, this was halted by the start of WWII, during which time Nissan produced engines. In the years after the war, Nissan faced major struggles getting back on its feet, until 1953 when the company produced the Nissan Austin. The company began to slowly grow and gained global attention with its Australian Rally wins. In 1959-1960 Nissan found success in the Nissan Bluebird and Nissan Cedric in Japan. Buyers adored the small cars, and this caused a small car trend to erupt in the market.
In the 1970s, the world faced two energy crises and Japanese exports, including Nissan vehicles, became very popular due to their small size and great fuel economy. The Nissan Sunny gained huge popularity in the American market. Nissan continues to be conscious of fuel economy ratings in its vehicles today. The Nissan Leaf, for example is an EV with outstanding environmentally-friendly features. Some popular Nissans currently in production include the 2012 Nissan Altima Coupe, the 2012 Nissan Altima Sedan and Coupe (one of Nissan's best-selling models of all time), the 2012 Nissan Armada SUV, the sporty 2012 Nissan GT-R, the fresh-faced 2012 Nissan Juke, the 2012 Nissan Maxima (another longtime popular model), the 2012 Nissan Murano crossover, the luxurious Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet, the family-friendly 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, the 2012 Nissan Rogue, the cost-efficient 2012 Nissan Sentra, and the sporty, off-roading 2012 Nissan Xterra. All of these models should help Nissan confidently compete against fellow Japanese companies Toyota and Honda and America's GM company.