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Kwaishinsha Motor Car Works was founded in 1911 by Masujiro Hashimoto. Three years later they released their first car, called the DAT. DAT was an acronym of the investor’s surnames, formed from Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi. DAT also produced small trucks for the war effort. The company went through various name changes before settling on DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd. In 1925. DAT motors introduced a smaller car in 1931 known as Datson, meaning son of DAT.The same year, DAT became affiliated with Tobata Casting. Owned by Nihon Sangyo (Nissan), a holding company founded by Yoshisuke Aikawa in 1928, Tobata merged with DAT in 1933. Later that year, Nissan took control of DAT motors, changing the spelling of the Datson to Datsun and manufacturing Austin 7’s with the Datsun name brand in 1934. This was the start of Nissan’s successes within automobile manufacturing.Aikawa incorporated the expanded automobile division of Tobata Casting in 1934, renaming it as Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and achieving full ownership by buying out all of Tobata’s stakeholders. The next year a manufacturing plant at Yokohama, Japan was completed. A number of Datsuns were shipped to Asia and America, fresh off the Yokohama assembly system. Nissan also manufactured various aircraft and components for the military during this period.Nissan was a prominent manufacturer of Austins, entering into an agreement from 1952 onwards to import semi-assembled sets and sell them in Japan. Nissan later began to create the parts themselves, and went on to sell Austins for the next seven years. This also gave them the rights to use Austin patents, which enabled Nissan to develop original engines for their line of Datsuns, some of which were more capable than what was offered in the Austin originally. Nissan produced over 20,000 Austins, including the entirely Nissan built A50, over the course of the fifties. This included exports to markets within Saudi Arabia, Australia and the US.The success of the Datsun in the US caused Nissan to form the Nissan Motor Corporation in 1960. Nissan worked to better subsequent models released stateside, including better technological advancements and classy styling in cars such as the 411 series. A merger with the Prince Motor Company expanded the Nissan roster to include models such as the Skyline into their range; the Datsun 240Z in particular was wildly successful. By 1970, Nissan had become the leading automobile exporter in the world.The 1973 oil crisis shifted the consumer focus to small, efficient cars. Nissan responded to this by upping volume, which they did by building a variety of plants in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and South Africa. Additional plants were also built in the US in the early eighties as a response to the chicken tax that imposed a toll on commercial van imports. Export charges in Europe also led to the construction of a factory in Sunderland, England, due to access to major ports and a talented workforce (which would eventually become the most productive plant in Europe).
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