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9 Facts About Nissan: Statistics to Know in 2024

orange nissan gtr

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

The Japanese car brand Nissan has been a leading vehicle manufacturer for nearly 90 years. Known for its iconic GTR, Nissan has been a forerunner in technological innovation, partnering with brands like Renault, Mitsubishi, and Toyota to deliver some of the most impressive consumer vehicles available. Get to know this automotive giant a little better with these 10 facts about Nissan.

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The 9 Facts About Nissan

  1. The Nissan brand has roots dating back to 1911.
  2. Nissan built rockets for nearly 50 years.
  3. Nissan didn’t make the first Skyline.
  4. The fastest GT-R completed a quarter-mile in 6.47 seconds.
  5. The Nissan GT-R holds the record for the fastest drift ever.
  6. Five men hand-built the GT-R engines.
  7. GT-Rs were illegal because Nissan didn’t want to submit them for testing.
  8. The Nissan Sunny went under four different nameplates.
  9. Nissan manufactured Japan’s first mass-produced car.
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Nissan History Facts

1. The Nissan brand has roots dating back to 1911.

(Nissan Global)

Many people know that Datsun was the original Nissan name, but the company’s origins go back even further than most people realize. The Datsun name came from the company’s precursor, the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Work, founded by Masujiro Hashimoto in 1911.

The first car to roll out of the Kwaishinsha factory was the DAT. The name was an acronym of the company’s three investors’ names—Den, Aoyama, and Takeuchi. It wasn’t until 1932 that the company came out with a new car called the Datsun (“son of DAT”), and the name took off.

Nissan continued producing cars under the Datsun brand until 1986. The company revived the brand in 2013 as an economical option in specific Asian markets. You can still find Datsun brand vehicles in places like India and Indonesia.

Nissan Navara pickup
Image credit: Nissan Navara pickup by Tordinator, Pixabay

2. Nissan built rockets for nearly 50 years.

(Nissan Global)

Nissan recently partnered with NASA for work on future autonomous vehicles, but it isn’t the brand’s first foray into space technology. The company began R&D on rockets in 1953.

The most notable success of Nissan’s aerospace division was the Lambda 4S-5. The fifth attempt at the rocket launched in 1970, putting Japan’s first satellite, OHSUMI, into orbit.

Nissan would have future successes in their rocket division with the H-I carrier rocket, which featured a Nissan motor. The company ultimately sold off its aerospace division in 2000, only two years after the construction of their Tomioka plant. Due to declining sales, the company restructured its operations to focus on improving its automotive business.

3. Nissan didn’t make the first Skyline.

(Auto Trader)

No car better represents the Nissan brand than the Skyline. Yet, following it back to its inception, it turns out that they didn’t make the original.

Prince Motor Company built the first Skyline in 1957, introducing it as a luxury vehicle. The company had experimented with racing the Skyline through the 1960s, but never fully embraced it in the Skyline.

The company merged with Nissan in 1966, and the racing angle that started with Prince Motors became the sole focus. The first-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R was a four-door model, the only sedan in the Skyline’s history, but it began the long-standing tradition of blowing away the competition in racing events.

Nissan GTR Statistics and Facts

4. The fastest GT-R completed a quarter-mile in 6.47 seconds.

(The Drive)

Current iterations of the classic racer put Nissan GTR statistics at their best. The GT-R Nismo of recent years has sported up to 600 HP with lightning-fast acceleration under three seconds and top speeds over 205 mph. But the fastest version was a souped-up Skyline GT-R out of Australia.

Maatouks Racing upgraded an R32 Skyline to achieve the record, using lightweight carbon components and an engine that could produce over 2100 HP. It raced to a top speed of 219.94 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.

white Nissan GTR
Image Credit: jlxp, Pixabay

5. The Nissan GT-R holds the record for the fastest drift ever.

(Nissan News)

Nissan set the world’s fastest drift record at a special event in the UAE on March 3, 2016. Professional drift racer Masato Kawabata set the record in a 2016 GT-R R35, with a maximum speed of 304.96 km/h (189.49 mph) at a 33.56-degree angle.

A Nismo team helped specially tune the GT-R, getting it to 1380 HP and performing comprehensive testing before the event. Although the 33-degree angle was the fastest recorded drift speed, Kawabata set three records that day in 2016. He also accomplished a 34-degree drift at 296.79 km/h and a 55-degree drift at 273.39 km/h, beating records set three years prior.

6. Five men hand build the GT-R engines.

(Nissan Global)

At the center of every GT-R is the 3.8L twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, hitting 545 HP in the most basic versions alone. But unlike most engines that see their way into the world coming down a production line, GT-R engines are handmade by one of four Nissan master craftsmen known as the Takumi.

The Takumi work at Nissan’s Yokohama plant in Japan. They assemble every GT-R engine in a cleanroom to prevent even the smallest contaminants from causing a defect. The Takumi rely on their precision and sensitivity to the slightest imperfection to seal off any gaps that normally occur during the assembly process.

7. GT-Rs were illegal because Nissan didn’t want to submit them for testing.

(Slash Gear)

The Skyline was illegal in the U.S. from 1988-1998, mainly because Nissan wasn’t interested in selling cars in America. In 1988, the federal government enacted the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act. Any imported vehicles had to pass strict road safety and emissions tests to be driven in the U.S.

The government move came as part of a crackdown on the grey import market, which was allowing for a free flow of foreign vehicles into the U.S. Once the new law was established, manufacturers would have to submit several cars for testing so they could be sold in the states. Because the demand in America was low at the time, Nissan decided that it wasn’t worth their while to make a car that passed those stringent tests.

white nissan gtr
Image Credit: PeteRoy, Pixabay

Nissan Production Facts

8. The Nissan Sunny went under four different nameplates.

(Nissan Global)

Nissan’s best-selling car of all time may be one that most Americans have never heard of but many have likely seen. That’s because the Nissan Sunny sedan, which has been manufactured since 1966, has gone under four different nameplates. In the United States, we’re familiar with one Sunny alter ego, the Sentra.

9. Nissan manufactured Japan’s first mass-produced car.

(Nissan Global)

Like other vehicle manufacturers during the first three decades of the 20th century, Nissan’s manufacturing was a slow process, with their plant able to produce only a few hundred cars each year. That changed in 1935 when the first fully integrated assembly began manufacturing the Datsun Model 14.

Before Nissan’s assembly line, Mitsubishi claimed that they produced the first mass-produced Japanese car, the Model A, which they introduced in 1917. However, the company only made 22 units. By contrast, the 1935 assembly line allowed Nissan to manufacture at least 20,000 Model 14s, making it the Model T of the Japanese auto industry.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Nissan

Is the Nissan GT-R Still Illegal?

Despite the heavy restrictions that the U.S. placed on imports, the GT-R started to flow back into the country after a decades-long hiatus for a few reasons. To start, the NHTSA put a 25-year limit on the ban of imports that didn’t pass the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. As of now, you can import any GT-R manufactured in or before 1997.

Thanks to a rise in popularity, Nissan began making GT-Rs available for the U.S. Among other factors, the Fast and the Furious franchise ramped up demand for a previously little-known ride. Nissan designed the R35, which came out in 2007, for North American markets, so you can buy them legally if you can afford the hefty price tag. And if you want the Skyline R34 from the F&F franchise that initiated the high demand in the U.S., they’ll be legal to import starting in 2024.

neon nissan gtr
Image Credit: ilhamtakim0612, Pixabay

What Is the Best-Selling Nissan Model in America?

The Rogue was the most popular Nissan in North America in 2021. A redesign from the 2020 model made it jump over 25% in sales, making it one of the most popular cars of the year.

What Is the Highest-Rated Nissan?

Nissan models have been known to vary in reliability, so it’s crucial to research ratings before deciding on any particular model in any category. In 2021, the Nissan lineup had something special to offer in everything from subcompacts to large SUVs.

In a category primarily dominated by luxury brands like BMW and Lexus, the Nissan Murano was the brand’s sole representative in J.D. Power’s 2021 list of best SUVs for overall quality. The midsize SUV has been a regular on J.D. Power’s rankings over the years, taking the Best in Initial Quality award in 2020. The Nissan Maxima and Armada also earned the initial quality prize in their categories that same year.

AutoPacific, a market research and consulting firm for automotive industry leaders, made Nissan a big winner at their 2021 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The VSAs are awarded based on feedback from 89,000 new vehicle owners. In 2021, the Nissan Rogue, Armada, Sentra, and Versa took home top honors as the most satisfying vehicle in their respective categories.

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Nissan has stood behind its brand promise of innovation and excitement for nearly 100 years. From the coveted Skyline to the economical and eco-friendly Leaf, the Japanese auto manufacturer has built a legacy of catering to a wide range of consumers. As they continue to evolve and innovate, they’ll add even more to their rich history as an automotive leader.

Featured Image Credit: lbrownstone, Pixabay


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