Known by auto enthusiasts for sporting machines like the GT-R sports car, Nissan is a Japanese automaker with a full lineup of sedans and crossover vehicles.
The company was established in 1933 when automaker Dat Jidosha Seizo Co. merged with the automotive division of Tobata Casting to form the Nissan Motor Company. Nissan marketed its first cars under the Datsun brand, a trend that would continue for many years to come.
end of World War II, Nissan began to expand beyond its home market, developing a partnership with the U.K.-based Austin Motor Company in 1952 and selling its first Datsun models in America in 1958. Nissan merged with Prince Motor Company in 1966, a move that added the more luxurious Gloria and Skyline models to its lineup, the later of which would eventually morph into the legendary GT-R.
The energy crises of the 1970's triggered a surge in demand for fuel-efficient cars, and Datsun's sales enjoyed a boost when the Sunny finished first in Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy testing in 1973. The decade also saw the introduction of the 240Z sports car, which proved to be a hit for the brand thanks to its appealing styling, smooth inline-six motor and affordable pricing.
Nissan established its first United Status manufacturing plant in 1980 in Smyrna, Tennessee, to satisfy growing demand for its vehicles. In 1983, Nissan elected to discontinue the Datsun brand and sell vehicles under its own name moving forward.
Despite releasing successful, fine-handling cars in early 1990s like the 300ZX, Maxima and 200SX, by the end of the decade Nissan was in severe financial trouble. Nissan's fortunes were revived thanks to a successful alliance with French automaker Renault that has seen the two companies jointly engineer a host of vehicles and technologies.
Today, Nissan's model range is anchored by the popular Altima midsize sedan, the Sentra compact and the Rogue crossover.