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The Nissan brand, formerly known as Datsun, was created in 1932. It was permanently renamed Nissan in 1983, although the Nissan brand name originally Ni-San based on a merge with the Nihon Sangyo Co. Ltd. has existed on some level since 1933. A Japanese manufacturer that once was the country’s second largest car company (after Toyota), the company is partly owned by Renault, which purchased a controlling share of the company in the 1990s. That decade was hard on Nissan, and problems experienced by the company led to it being relegated to third largest Japanese automaker after both Toyota and Honda. However, when Renault installed Carlos Ghosn as president, the company experienced an upturn that has continued to improve its stake until today.
Early in its history, Nissan partnered with Austin, later the British Motor Corporation, to access British automobile and engine design concepts. In 1930, Nissan started building Austin 7s, and later built Austin derivatives such as the Austin A50-based Datsun 1000. This partnership lasted for quite some time, and even in the 1960s, when Nissan began producing its own cars of that type, the engines used were still from Austins A and B family of engines.
1966 saw Nissan merge with the Prince Motor Company, and together they produced a range of more expensive, high-class automobiles such as the Skyline and the Gloria, which they continued to produce even after the partnership with Prince ended. The Skyline and the Gloria bore the Nissan name exclusively, and even now, the Prince name is still used in a very limited capacity by Japanese Nissan dealers. This foray into producing luxury automobiles took a dramatic step in the 1980s, when Nissan started building cars under the Infiniti brand.
Nissan has established assembly plants in the United States, which it started doing in the 1980s. This includes plants in both Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, as well as one in Canton Mississippi. A plant in Sunderland, UK, was also created in the 1980s. Currently, Nissan North America has its home offices in Gardena, California, but is planning a move to Franklin, Tennessee in 2008. Main offices for Nissan are currently located in the Ginza area of Tokyo Japan, yet construction is set for 2007 for a facility, which will move corporate headquarters of the company to Yokohama. This move is planned for 2010.
In addition to the many cars that Nissan produces, the company also produces trucks and other kinds of vehicles and products. One other notable fact is that since the inception of the Wards Best 10 Engines award(s), Nissan has been a winner for each of the last 12 years, cementing the company’s reputation as a top notch producer of automobile engines, such as its VG and VQ V6 engines.