Nippon Sangyo or Nissan was founded by Yoshisuke Aikawa in 1928 in Japan and included Tobata Casting and Hitachi. Nissan’s tryst with the Datsun brand began in 1933 when Tobata Casting took control of DAT Motorcar Co. and built the Datsun Type 11. After a year, Aikawa separated the automobile division from Tobata Casting and formed Nissan Motors. Nissan went on to produce cars, wagons, sports cars, sedans, coupes, pick-ups and more under the Datsun name. Nissan introduced Datsun in the American market in 1958.
With the objective to strengthen the company name in the world market, Nissan decided to cease using the Datsun brand in 1981. Although the name Datsun remained more popular than Nissan even after the rebranding campaign, today Nissan is one of the largest car manufacturer in the world and its name is synonymous with excellence.
The history of the Datsun brand goes beyond the classic cars produced by Nissan, who took over the DAT Motorcar Co. from Masujiro Hashimoto. DAT was originally Kwaishinsha Motors but underwent a name change as a tribute to the company's first investors, being an acronym of their surnames: Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi. DAT is also the Japanese word for ‘hare’ which is known for its speed and the name gained popularity. Hashimoto built the first DAT car in 1914. These cars were fairly large and expensive. Hashimoto then built a smaller and lower priced car which was aptly named as Datson, meaning, ‘the son of DAT’! With Nissan, the name changed to Datsun. The ‘son’ in the name was replaced with ‘sun’ because ‘son’ in Japanese means ‘loss’. Moreover, it was an honour to the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.
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