The first Datsun car originates from car named the DAT made by Kaishinsha Motorcar Works in 1914, Tokyo, Japan. The cars name coming from and acronym of the company owners' names, DAT in Japanese (pronounced datto) translates to dashing away with great speed. The firm later changed its name to DAT Motorcar Co. and throughout the late 1910's and 20's produced a series of trucks and light cars. After a law change by the Japanese government, in 1930, allowing under 500cc to be driven without a driver's license, DAT capitalized on the new emerging market by producing the 495cc Datson. The name Datson was later changed to Datsun because the word son in Japanese can mean loss, while sun was more indicative of light and more representative of Japan. With the first series of Datsun coming out in 1931 the type 10, followed by an increase of the law to 500 cc to 750 cc and Datsun followed suit with their vehicles. Then in 1934 a merger of DAT Automobile Co. and Jitsuyo Automobile Co resulted in the birth of Nissan Motors, while cars were still being sold under the name Datsun.
In 1935, Datsun had begun production line modeled by that of Ford and
began producing vehicles. But after war broke out with China in 1937
passenger car production was restrict and Datsun had begun making truck
for the Imperial Japanese Army. After the war had ceased the production
of the trucks continued for the occupying forces until 1947, when Datsun
produced the DB and DS modeled after Austin Seven products. All products
by Datsun before the year 1955 were modeled after other companies' cars,
in 1955 Datsun came up with its first own original model car. Later in
1955 car factories were returned to Japanese control and released the
110 saloon and the 120 pickups.
The brand Datsun was the name given to many of the cars imported to America after the Second World War, to distance the image away from the Nissan company aiding the Japanese war machine. Datsun began exporting to America in 1958, while experiencing success with the Bluebird 510 sales reaching over 200,000. Then in 1968 producing the 240Z which soon became the top selling sports car in the world. From the years of 1960 to 1975 Nissan cars exporting to America were branded as Datsun, this was similar with the European market although the Nissan name was gradually used sooner than in America. During the 80's Datsun was gradually being more and more phased out and was completely phased out by 1986 worldwide to strengthen the company's global pursuit strategy.
The Datsun brand has begun to be relaunched after almost 3 decades. Being marketed as a low-cost car brand for use predominately in Indonesia, South Africa, India, and Russia. Giving homage to Datsun's roots of smaller vehicles, striving for fuel efficiency, and affordable pricing.