Alongside the French car producer Renault, Nissan forms one of the biggest and most successful alliances in the history of the automotive world. In 1999, when this alliance was formed, Nissan was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The 1990s was a period of rapid expansion for Nissan, but this expansion came at a cost: the car producer had invested huge sums in models that failed to sell in sufficient numbers. To make matters worse, these models shared too few components, which translated in high production costs. The French group Renault stepped in and saved Nissan and a central part of the success of this has been Carlos Ghosn. He was named Chief Executive Officer of Nissan in 2001 and President of Renault in 2005.
His no-nonsense approach to cost cutting led to the drastic reduction in the number of platforms used by Nissan and to economies of scale by sharing many components with Renault models. Carlos Ghosn stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Nissan in April 2017 and was replaced by Hiroto Saikawa, the former co-CEO and representative director. The move signals the desire by the Renault-Nissan alliance to focus on the integration of Mitsubishi.
Masujiro Hashimoto founded Kaishinsha Motor Car Works in July 1911, Japan's first automobile producer. It was renamed DAT Jidosha & Co., Ltd.in 1925. The company produced trucks cars under the name Datsun.
The name Nissan was first used in the 1930s as an abbreviation used on the Tokyo Stock Exchange for Nihon Sangyo. Nissan Motor was founded in 1934 and was owned by Hitachi and Nihon Sangyo. This new company was the successor of DAT, which by that time had merged with Tobata Casting one year earlier. After the Second World War, Nissan began to expand worldwide.
The real boom, however, came after the 1973 Oil Crisis, when American consumers turned their attention to smaller, more fuel-efficient Japanese cars. The 70s and 80s was a real golden age for Nissan, but focus on expansion in the 1990s led to the company's financial difficulties.