The first vehicle built by Datsun – the forerunner of the Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, took to the road in 1914. It was not until 1933, when Nissan as the company is now known, was formed and changed the production style that allowed mass production of a high quality vehicle became a reality. In just four years, the company tooled up, designed and began producing the first mass-produced Japanese vehicle.
The Datsun Type 15 car was partnered in the range by a pickup version and a van.
Nissan’s history in Saudi Arabia began in 1957 when the first vehicle was sold in the Kingdom. Since then it has become part of the automotive landscape and justly famous for its rugged construction and outstanding reliability.
The company quickly developed a reputation for strong, reliable small vehicles. The 1958 1200 Sedan with its 1200cc 48 hp engine and heavy body panels gave notice to the US of things to come.
A year later saw the arrival of the first compact Datsun pickup truck, originally fitted with a modest 1000 cc engine, it was quickly upgraded to a 48hp 1200 cc unit. This quarter ton pickup firmly established Datsun in the American market.
1960 saw the birth of Nissan’s first sports car, the SPL 210. With a four speed gear box and floor mounted stick-shift, soft top and an 85hp 1200cc engine, it was a radical departure from the large US vehicles it competed with.
1963 saw the beginning of a legend: The Patrol. Pitched as the world’s most powerful and advanced 4-wheel drive and promoted by film and TV cowboy star Roy Rogers, the Patrol’s brawny 145 hp 4 litre engine produced “enough torque to climb trees.” The Patrol is still the vehicle of choice in Saudi Arabia for serious off-roaders, civilian and military.
Towards the end of the 1960’s a period of great change for Nissan, the company had built a strong reputation in both the American and the Japanese markets. The Datsun 2000 roadster, valued both for its style and performance, became synonymous with early Nissan design. Soon after, the Datsun "Z", produced in 1969 as a 1970 model, it changed the way people think of sports cars.
The 240 Z offered European sports car performance and all the creature comforts the US Market expected for example wind-up windows and a heater all at an affordable price. The 204Z went on to become the best selling sports car in the world.
In the '70s, Nissan continued to gain in popularity, with annual U.S. sales surpassing a quarter of a million cars. Nissan also begins to display unrivalled racing skills, with the Datsun 510 winning a number of championship races.
The BRE510 won the 2.5 litre Trans-Am in 1971 and claimed Nissan’s first professional racing championship. It dominated the series, winning 15 out of 21 races. Another won the East African Safari and another the American Rally Championship.
Meantime, the public road-going 510 provided the verve of a sports car to the general driving population, a goal Nissan achieves to this day through the Maxima and Sentra SE-R.
In the 1980s, the Nissan brand comes into its own as the first Nissan truck is manufactured in the U.S. The Nissan truck took on a new dimension by taking 19 truck-racing championships between 1982 and 1992. A King-Cab racer pushed the limits of Nissan’s inventiveness and technological mastery with a mid-engined 380hp full time 4-WDtruck with a radical new suspension.
On the track in 1988 Nissan driver Geoff Brabham won the first of four consecutive IMSA Camel Championships including a run of eight straight race, breaking the US record. The IMSA GTP Race car dominated the season with scintillating performance and a top speed of 200 miles per hour. (320 KPH)
Not long after this milestone in 1989, Nissan introduces its Infiniti line of luxury vehicles, ending the decade with a tremendous new business venture.
In 1996, the iconic ‘Z’ car was retired from production. However Nissan announced a revival of the marquee completely redesigned for release in 2002.
Nissan demonstrated its agility in the '90s - retaining the Nissan heritage, while moving in new directions. The company remained committed to long-standing quality and service in the automotive development, while also receiving numerous corporate and environmental awards.
Over the last nine years a SHIFT_ has been made. Nissan has nearly doubled the number of models offered and nearly doubled in sales. Nissan continues to move in a positive direction thanks to not only doing things differently but also doing things for the sake of a better driving experience.
The company broadened its product line-up in 2005 with the introduction of a new mid-sized Pathfinder with 3rd row seating. The same year saw the launch of the 2nd-generation Xterra and the all-new Frontier, the most powerful V6 truck in its class. Not finished yet, in 2007 Nissan introduced five vehicles packed with next-generation technology including the all-new Versa sedan and hatchback and the next-generation Altima, Altima Hybrid, Sentra and Quest.
In August 2009, Nissan unveiled its much-anticipated electric car, “Leaf.”
The Leaf travels 161km on a single charge, has zero-emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, It has a charging time is seven hours, although a 30 minute quick charge can get the batteries to 80 percent. Nissan will begin selling the Leaf in the United States, Japan and Europe at the end of 2010, with production to start at around 200,000 units a year.