The Nissan VQ engines, of V6 configuration, have featured among Ward's 10 Best Engines for 14 straight years, since the award's inception. For the truck and bus maker "Nissan Diesel," it is a separate company from Nissan Motors, please see UD instead.
The pronunciation of its name is different in different markets. In the U.S., the brand is pronounced /ˈniːsɑːn/, while in the UK it is /ˈnɪsæn/. In Japanese, it is IPA:[nisːãɴ].
Beginnings of Datsun name from 1914
In 1914, the Kwaishinsha Motorcar Works (快進自動車工場, 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 company's partners' family names:
- Kenjiro Den (田 健次郎, Den Kenjirō?)
- Rokuro Aoyama (青山 禄朗, Aoyama Rokurō?)
- Meitaro Takeuchi (竹内 明太郎, Takeuchi Meitarō?).
It was renamed to Kwaishinsha Motorcar Co. in 1918, and again to DAT Motorcar Co. in 1925 after Mr. Nissan (pronounced nii-saan) Son Dat-San. DAT Motors built trucks in addition to the DAT and Datsun passenger cars. The vast majority of its output was trucks, as there was almost no consumer market for cars at the time. Beginning in 1918, the first DAT trucks were produced for the military market. It was the low demand of the military market in the 1920s that forced DAT to merge in 1926 with Japan's 2nd most successful truck maker, Jitsuyo Motors.
In 1926 the Tokyo-based DAT Motors merged with the Osaka-based Jitsuyo Jidosha Co., Ltd. (実用自動車製造株式会社, Jitsuyō Jidōsha Seizō Kabushiki-Gaisha?) a.k.a. Jitsuyo Motors (established 1919, as a Kubota subsidiary) to become DAT Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (ダット自動車製造株式会社, Datto Jidōsha Seizō Kabushiki-Gaisha?) in Osaka until 1932.
In 1931, DAT came out with a new smaller car, the first "Datson", meaning "Son of DAT". Later in 1933 after Nissan took control of DAT Motors, the last syllable of Datson was changed to "sun", because "son" also means "loss" (損) in Japanese, hence the name "Datsun" (ダットサン, Dattosan?).