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Datsun is a brand of motor vehicles owned by the Nissan Motor Company who operate out of Japan. In 1931, the DAT Motorcar Company chose to name its new car the 'Datson', although this was changed to 'Datsun' when Nissan took over DAT in 1931, as 'son' in Japanese can also mean 'loss'. Nissan phased out the name Datsun in 1986, but in March 2012 announced it was to relaunch the brand for a range of vehicles intended for Indonesia, South Africa, India and Russia.

Datsun Motor Vehicles

The original DAT Motorcar Company was named from the initials of the surnames of its three founders, Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama and Meitaro Takeuchi. The company was founded in 1914, but was renamed Kaishinsha in 1918, then the DAT Motorcar Company in 1925. Initially, DAT manufactured trucks for the military, but following the decline in demand for military vehicles in the 1920s, a series of mergers with other smaller companies took place. DAT were one of the first Japanese motor companies to produce affordable cars intended for the everyday commuter, following the example of Ford in the United States. Nissan eventually bought the DAT company in 1931, but continued to manufacture cars under the Datsun brand.

Expansion of the Datsun Brand

In the 1960s the Datsun brand underwent a rapid period of expansion that saw it move into the American market. The famous Datsun logo on a blue plaque over the Japanese Flag became a common sight on cars on American roads, with the Datsun Fairlady being among the most popular models. Datsuns became popular with people searching for a cheap but reliable car to run and maintain. Other popular models included the Datsun Cherry and the Datsun Sunny.

Keen to promote the Nissan brand, Nissan dropped the name 'Datsun' in 1986, rebranding all models as Nissans. Used and second-hand Datsun classic models can still be found today being sold via personal owners or traders. The Datsun brand was reborn in 2012 when Nissan announced it was to re-launch the Datsun name to honour the brand that was once synonymous with low-cost, non-flashy, yet reliable and dependable cars. Datsun's new model has been christened the Datsun Go.