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Nissan Motors Company Ltd , is a multinational automaker headquartered in Japan. It was formerly a core member of the Nissan Group, but has become more independent after its restructuring under Carlos Ghosn (CEO).
It formerly marketed vehicles under the "Datsun" brand name and is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. As of 2011, the company's global headquarters is located in Nishi-ku, Yokohama. In 1999, Nissan entered a two way alliance with Renault S.A. of France, which owns 43.4% of Nissan while Nissan holds 15% of Renault shares, as of 2008. The current market share of Nissan, along with Honda and Toyota, in American auto sales represent the largest of the automotive firms based in Asia that have been increasingly encroaching on the historically dominant US-based "Big Three" consisting of GM, Ford and Chrysler. In its home market, Nissan became the second largest car manufacturer in 2011, surpassing Honda with Toyota still very much the dominant first. Along with its normal range of models, Nissan also produces a range of luxury models branded as Infiniti.
In the 1950s, Nissan decided to expand into worldwide markets. Nissan management realized their Datsun small car line would fill an unmet need in markets such as Australia and the world's largest car market, the United States. They first showed cars at the 1959 Los Angeles Auto Show and sold a few that year in the United States. The company formed a U.S. subsidiary, Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A., in 1959, headed by Yutaka Katayama. Nissan continued to improve their sedans with the latest technological advancements and chic Italianate styling in sporty cars such as the Datsun Fairlady roadsters, the race-winning 411 series, the Datsun 510 and the world-class Datsun 240Z, and by 1970, they had become one of the world's largest exporters of automobiles.
In the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, consumers worldwide (especially in the lucrative U.S. market) began turning in rapidly increasing numbers to high-quality small economy cars. To meet the growing demand, the company built new factories in Mexico, Australia, Taiwan and South Africa.
The "Chicken Tax" of 1964 placed a 25% tax on imported commercial vans In response, Nissan, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. began building plants in the U.S. in the early 80s.
Nissan's initial assembly plant, in Smyrna, Tennessee, at first built only trucks such as the 720 and Hardbody, but has since expanded to produce several car and SUV lines, including the Altima, Maxima, Xterra and Pathfinder. An engine plant in Decherd, Tennessee followed, and most recently a second assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi.
In 1998 Nissan announced that it was selling one of its headquarter buildings to the Mori Group for $107.8 million.
In order to overcome export tariffs and delivery costs to its European customers, Nissan contemplated establishing a plant in Europe. After an extensive review, Sunderland in the north east of the United Kingdom was chosen for the local availability of a highly skilled workforce and its position near major ports. The plant was completed in 1986 as the subsidiary Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. By 2007, it was producing 400,000 vehicles per year, landing it the highly coveted title of the most productive plant in Europe.
Financial difficulties (approaching billions) in Australia in the late 1980s caused Nissan to cease production there. Due to the "Button Plan" the Australian operation was unique as the Nissan products were also rebranded both by General Motors Holden: Pulsar as the Holden Astra), and Ford: Bluebird as the Ford Corsair).
In 2001 stablished a manufacturing plant in Brazil, in 2005, Nissan setup operations in India, through its subsidiary Nissan Motors India Pvt. Ltd. With its global alliance partner, Renault, Nissan is investing $920 Million to set up a manufacturing facility in Chennai to cater to the Indian market as well as a base for exports of small cars to Europe.
Nissan sold nearly 520,000 new vehicles in China in 2009 in joint venture with Dongfeng Motor, and aims for 1 million in 3 or 4 years. To meet that target, Dongfeng-Nissan is expanding its production base in Guangzhou, which would become Nissan's largest factory around the globe in terms of production capacity upon completion.