Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Marque used by Nissan, predominantly for export models from the 1930s to the 1980s, though some had this nameplate at home. The first three letters, DAT, came from the surnames of three of the financial backers to Nissan, Kenjiro Den, Rokuro Aoyama, and Meitaro Takeuchi. The first DAT was released in 1914, with a small, sub-500 cm³ car called Datson (“son of DAT”) in the early 1930s. To tie it in with the Japanese Empire’s symbol, this was changed to Datsun in 1932. Postwar, the Datsun name was retained for exports, to distance the offerings from Nissan’s substantial military involvement. By 1981, it was felt that the brand should be Nissan globally, and the Datsun name was steadily phased out over three years (1982–4) with cars wearing both brands at one point, Datsun giving away by the end of that period. It was retained within Japan for some commercial vehicles. Datsun was revived in 2013 for the Indian and Russian markets as a low-cost marque, positioned similarly to Dacia. With Nissan in financial turmoil as the 2010s closed, the COVID-19 crisis of 2020 pushed the company to look at cutting costs, and the Datsun brand looked likely to be a casualty.


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024