They’ve brought us innovative cars like the Leaf, trusty cars like the Pathfinder and funky rides like the Juke and the Cube. Nissan is an amazing automotive brand with quite the legacy — but do you know any of the details?
If you didn’t know before, read on and you’ll quickly be filled in on the fascinating history of this brand we all recognize so well in the United States!
Known by a different name
You may remember the “vintage” brand of Datsun. Well, that old brand is actually the same as the Nissan we know today! Datsun, a Japanese company, came about as an acronym of the company investor’s last names. The first car was even called DAT. The company went through several name changes (Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co., DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd.) before arriving at the name of Nissan in the 1930s as a short name for the holiday company Nihon Sangyo.
Comin’ to America
Aside from several name changes, the company now known as Nissan experienced many merges and changes in top management. And when an American named William Gorham came into the picture as an engineer for the company, Nissan took its first steps to becoming a well-known brand in the United States.
Soon, most of the processes and machinery were coming from the United States to Japan. And later on, Nissan became a major vehicle producer for the U.S. Army. So by the 1950s, Nissan was a household name in America.
A new sort of car
Nissan was able to break into the United States market mainly because of its Datsun small car line, which was unlike anything being sold in out country at the time. The Datsun 240Z, the Datsun 510 and other similar models became huge hits in the U.S!
Now a well-established company in Australia, Brazil, India and all the corners of the world, Nissan is a major player in the automotive industry. They’ve forged partnerships with other iconic brands like Ford, Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo, and they now produce all their cars in South Korea instead of Japan.
Along with the other major players, Nissan is working on electric cars, autonomous cars and non-automotive products in the near future. With all these big things underway, I’m certainly excited to see where they’re headed next!
Have you ever wondered what it was like to drive when cars were totally brand new? It probably was a crazy time to be alive! I imagine that to those people, cars were like hover boards or personal flying cars would seem to us — dangerous and amazing all at once!
The laws from the original times of vehicles were certainly different from the way they are now, so I thought it would be fun to give you all a little quiz on the topic! Try your hand at early car law history, then check your answers at the bottom of the post. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something cool in the process!
1. According to Great Britain’s Locomotives on Highway Act of 1861, cars could go no faster than:
a. 25 mph
b. 20 mph
c. 15 mph
d. 10 mph
2. The United State’s first license plates were:
a. Letters and numbers issued by the goverment
b. Numbers issued by the government
c. Single numbers created by the car owner
3. The first standardized traffic laws weren’t created in the U.S. until:
4. In 1903, the “wheel tax” to allow people to drive on the roads for one year cost:
5. The U.S. adopted an international road sign system in:
6. Early Roman carriage drivers drove on this side of the road:
7. The world’s first electric traffic light was installed in 1914 in:
a. San Francisco, CA
b. Cleveland, OH
c. New York City, NY
d. Indianapolis, IN
8. Though there was no test involved, the first country to require a drivers license was:
a. Great Britain
c. United States
9. Britain’s Red Flag Act of 1865 required:
a. Drivers to attach a red flag to the front of their vehicle
b. Pedestrians to carry a red flag when they crossed the street
c. Vehicles to be escorted by a man carrying a red flag and lamp
d. Police officers to direct traffic with a red flag
10. The first U.S. State to issue license plates was:
a. New York
1. d / 2. c / 3. c / 4. a / 5. d / 6. a / 7. b / 8. a / 9. c / 10. d
I thought it would be interesting to tell the story behind some of our country’s most famous car brands. It’s always cool to know where your products are coming from — especially the big ticket items like cars! So I did some research and found some fascinating things about the history of brands like Hyundai, Chevrolet, Toyota and more.
First up: Chevrolet! Read on to learn more about this brand that is more than 100 years old!
Chevrolet: an American brand
Swiss immigrant, auto engineer and road racer Louis Chevrolet founded Chevrolet with Billy Durant (General Motors founder) in Detroit, Michigan in November 1911.
Durant had been around the block in the automotive world, and had also previously worked with Buick Motor Company, where he’d hired Louis Chevrolet to drive Buicks in promotional races. Chevrolet’s reputation as a racer was what launched Chevrolet Motors to success.
Moving into production
Louis Chevrolet designed the first model for the brand, the Series C Classic Six. In 1913, the car finally went into production and was introduced at the New York Auto show that year.
However, the famous bow-tie Chevrolet logo didn’t show up until the 1914 models went into production. It’s argued that the emblem is designed after some French wallpaper, the Swiss cross or the “Coalettes” brand logo. Nobody knows, to this day!
The company grows
Durant sold his share in the company in 1915, but the company continued to flourish and they began competing with other famous American brands like Ford.
The Corvette model was wildly successful in the 1950s, and remains so to this day!
In 2011, Chevrolet hit a global sales record by selling 4.76 million vehicles worldwide. It’s consistently one of the top three automotive brands in the United States, bringing us models we have all come to know and love, like the Tahoe, Silverado, Camaro, and good ol’ family Suburban.
Chevrolet is coming up with innovative technology for cars in the modern age…I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!