Originally known as Datsun, this Japanese company was founded in 1914. In the beginning, the main output of Datsun was trucks. Passenger cars were a luxury product and more profit could be made by selling to industrial companies. The Nissan brand was launched in 1934, after a takeover by Yohisuke Aikawa and ownership was passed to Nihon Sangyo.
After a down period during the Second World War, the Nissan Company restarted production of Nissan cars by 1947. Notably in 1953, the company produced a new off-road type vehicle capable of out-performing the popular Jeep, known as the Patrol model. This milestone model produced more horsepower and had greater loading capacity than its American made counterpart.
Nissan found its entry into the global market, by competing in road races. Notably, a Datsun 210 won the Mobilgas 'Round Australia' tour. Exports of Nissan cars to America started the same year, 1958. By 1960, Nissan had established a manufacturing plant in California, a bold move for a foreign car company. After this rapid expansion in the US, Nissan looked to break into the European markets. This was done by merging with Prince Motors and starting exports to Europe.
While many companies experienced a down-turn during the 1970s oil crisis, Nissan found a niche thanks to its very fuel efficient models. People used Nissan cars instead of heavier, more petrol hungry models and saved money. A popular and efficient model was the Nissan Sunny.
Throughout the 80's and 90's, Nissan continued to expand operations worldwide by construction of many factories in Europe, particularly in Spain and the UK. The wildly popular Nissan Micra line was started in 1992.
The Company is continually growing. With its greatest achievements being awards for crash safety and record high Nissan sales, second-hand Nissan Micras are a perennial choice for first time buyers.