This article was written by Phineas Upham
The first Nissan car was built in 1914. It was called a DAT, which was an acronym of the names of the investor’s families, but it sold well enough to put the company into the auto making market. The company went through several early name changes, finally settling on DAT Jidosha & Co., LTD in 1925.
They began producing trucks to carry freight for the military. The consumer market for passenger cars was basically non-existent, with only the most affluent able to afford the costs of producing one. DAT merged with an auto parts maker for trucks in 1926. This was the beginning of DAT, and ultimately Nissan, becoming one of the most powerful companies in Japan.
The Nissan name was first used in the 1930s, as an abbreviation of Nihon Sangyo. This was the famous Nissan Zaibatsu that controlled foundries and auto parts production facilities, as well as auto making in 1933. During World War II, Nissan was the fourth largest Zaibatsu, or “combine,” in the nation.
By 1934, Nissan began earnestly producing automobiles. This was in spite of what his investors felt. The auto market in Japan was questionable at the time. Japan was slow to let go of tradition in favor of modernization, and the investors of Nissan worried that could affect the company’s growth moving forward.
Today, Nissan is a well-recognized brand, but that market share was built on government contracts for the Japanese military. Nissan built Japan’s plane engines and freight trucks to fight the Second World War
About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his LinedIn page.