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In recent years Nissan has emphasised its focus on Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), with its LCV business progression becoming very evident, over the last few years. However, historically, the LCV business was already important when the company was established. Nissan, originally, marketed vehicles under the "Datsun" brand name in pre war Japan almost a century ago.In 1914, the Kwaishinsha Motorcar Works (Kaishin Jidōsha Kōjō), established three years earlier, in Azabu-Hiroo District in Tokyo, built the first DAT. The new car's name was an acronym of the first letter of the company's partners' family names: They included

Kenjiro Den (Den Kenjirō)

Rokuro Aoyama (Aoyama Rokurō)

Meitaro Takeuchi (Takeuchi Meitarō).

DAT Motors built trucks in addition to the DAT and Datsun passenger cars. At the time the bulk of its output comprised trucks, as there was almost no consumer market for cars. Beginning in 1918, the first DAT trucks were produced for the military market. When the demand of the military market dwindled in the 1920s, DAT was forced to merge with Japan's second most successful truck maker, Jitsuyo Motors in 1926. The merger led to the formation of DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co. which was based in Osaka till 1932. The following year, it was moved to Yokohama.
Datsun Truck

The emergence of the Nissan name

In 1931, DAT presented a new and smaller car. This was to be the first "Datson", meaning quite simply the "Son of DAT". Later in 1933, after Nissan took control of DAT Motors, the last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", and hence the name was "Datsun". In 1932, when the first-generation model LCV was launched, vehicles that combined a Type 10/11 chassis with a van body were on the roads.

The Nissan name was first used in 1933 as an abbreviation on the Tokyo stock market for Nippon Sangyo a company that was founded in 1928 by Yoshisuke Aikawa.

In the 30s, Nissan controlled foundries and auto parts businesses, but Aikawa did not enter automobile manufacturing until 1933, when he was able to merge his Tobata Casting's automobile parts department with DAT Motors. As Tobata Casting was a Nissan company, this marked the beginning of Nissan's automobile manufacturing.

In June, 1934 the Company name was changed to Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, and in May 1935 the corporate logo/identity was chosen.

The very first Nissan vehicle that rolled out of the assembly line in February 1935 was the Datsun 10T, a light commercial vehicle (LCV). It was also the first export model from Japan.

An era of changing customers needs

Preferences and customer requirements continued to change during and after the War. Thus, before World War II, models up to 17T were produced, while after the war the Datsun Truck was revived as the 1121. Nissan would eventually grow to include 74 firms, and become the fourth-largest combine in Japan during World War II. During this period, Nissan built trucks, airplanes, and engines for the Japanese military. For two years (1947 to 1948) the company was briefly called Nissan Heavy Industries Corp. This was also the period when Datsun Truck (2225) was born, to be replaced by a new model in the late 50s. Datsun Light Van 1200Delux (V320) would hit the roads in 1965, followed by the Cablight (1150) one year later. The Caravan DX (E20) model had its premiere in 1973. It would be replaced by Datsun C20 in the late 70s. The Nissan Clipper (C340) was introduced in 1976. Ten years later, the Datsun Truck (D21) entered the pick up market. In 1989 the S-Cargo (G20) model made its appearance as part of the so-called "pike" series of retro-styled vehicles. The D22 model of today represents the 16th generation of this offering.

Down the years these products have brought several innovations in product design for the customers. For instance, the Caravan first launched in 1973 in Japan has been a representative brand in the small cab over type one box segment in its domestic market. This brand is acclaimed for its excellent driving performance, comfort, functionality, economy and outstanding payload capacity (latter being the most notable feature of the model). Since its debut in 1973 the model has undergone various upgrade and design changes and was re launched in 2001. The new generation model has been developed around the product concept of a "one box business partner that brings 'profits' to owners while allowing drivers to enjoy exceptional 'ease of use' with complete 'peace of mind".

Clipper, a small truck, is another popular LCV model marketed by Nissan since 1958. True to its name which invokes the speed and grace of a swiftly moving horse, the model became hugely popular and was later re launched in 2003 with additional features.

Recent history

In 1999 Nissan entered an alliance with Renault SA of France. Signed on March 27, 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the first of its kind involving a Japanese and a French car manufacturer, each with its own distinct corporate culture and brand identity. The same year, Renault appointed its own Chief Operating Officer, Carlos Ghosn, as Chief Operating Officer of Nissan and took a 22.5% stake in Nissan Diesel. Nissan and Renault continuously seek synergies in all fields, including the LCV business.