Datsun engines trace their roots to the Kwaishinsha Company of Tokyo, Japan. The company was established in 1911 by Masujiro Hashimoto. In 1915, the company released a box-type small passenger car called the Dat Car, named after three of Hashimoto's primary financial backers whose surnames were Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. In 1926, the Kwaishinsha Company merged with the Jitsuyo Jidohsa Company to form Dat Jidohsa Seizo, which began manufacturing Datsuns in December 1933.
After a series of other name changes, the company name finally changed to Nissan Motor Company on June 1, 1934. Nissan's first Datsun came off of the assembly line in April 1935.
During the war years, Nissan's development and production of Datsun's entirely stopped. This period lasted from 1937, when Japan went to war with China, to 1945, the end of the Pacific War. During that time, Datsun's plant concentrated on building trucks for the Japanese military. The manufacturing hiatus extended for two more years, as Datsun provided vehicles for Occupation forces. Datsun resumed manufacturing shortly thereafter.
About a decade later, Datsun entered the American automobile market. The brand expanded quickly, and by the end of the decade, dealers across the entire United States sold Datsun vehicles. Exports and production accelerated throughout the 1960s and early part of the 1970s before demand for the brand began to decline.
Nissan phased out the Datsun name in 1986. The company re-launched the brand in 2013 and marketed it as a cost-effective vehicle option in the emerging markets of Russia, India, South Africa and Indonesia.