Who Owns Nissan? Who Makes Nissan? Where Is Nissan Made?

You won’t fail to notice that so many Nissan car models are running on the streets across the United States. Do you know who owns Nissan? Who makes Nissan? Where is Nissan made?

Nissan is now owned by the Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance. This partnership took effect in 1999, with Mitsubishi joining the alliance in 2016. Nissan, as a company, traces back its origins at the start of the 20th century. Known originally as Nissan Zaibatsu, it is now called Nissan Group.

Initially, all Nissan cars were made in Japan. But now, aside from Japan, Nissan has several car plants in North America and many countries worldwide. One of the most prominent Nissan car factories is the Tochigi Facility in Japan, where high-performance models like the Nissan 370Z and the Nissan GTR are made. 

Read on to learn more about who owns and makes Nissan and where these cars are being made.

Who Owns Nissan? Who Makes Nissan? Where Is Nissan Made?

who owns nissan

Present Owner Is the Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance

In 1999, Nissan’s ownership changed hands. Now, the Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance owns Nissan. Mitsubishi, another Japanese carmaker, joined the two original partners, Renault and Nissan, in 2016. Renault is a renowned French car manufacturer.

Share Allocations

The interlocking business arrangement between these three world-renowned carmakers is based on different share allocations.

The largest shareholder of Nissan is Renault, as it holds 43.4% of Nissan’s stock. Nissan, on the other hand, only owns 15% of Renault. Daimler AG of Germany owns 3.32% of Nissan. So, if Nissan makes its vehicles in different countries, how can you tell where your Nissan was made?

Originally Manufactured Only in Japan

Nissan originally manufactured their cars only in Japan. Now, Nissan cars are also being made in North America and many countries across the globe. One of Nissan’s most prominent car plants is the Tochigi Facility in Japan. This car plant builds high-performance Nissan cars like the 370Z and the GTR.

Nissan’s Manufacturing Facilities

In the United States, Nissan makes its cars in two locations. Nissan maintains its car manufacturing facilities in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi. Since 1983, Nissan’s U.S. facilities have manufactured more than 13.7 million Nissan cars and 7.6 million engines.

So, you might be wondering if Nissan is a Japanese or an American brand. Nissan Motor Company, the full name of Nissan, is an automaker based in Japan. It produces automobiles around the world.

World’s Sixth-largest Carmaker

It is currently the world’s sixth-largest carmaker, next to General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai, and Ford. This carmaker has previously marketed automobiles under the brand name Datsun.

Where Do They Build Nissan Cars?

Examine the Nissan’s VIN

You can examine your Nissan car’s VIN to determine where Nissan made it. One way to determine where the manufacturer made a car is by reviewing its VIN. The car’s vehicle identification number reveals it.

The first letter or number of the VIN indicates where the manufacturer built your car. For instance, if you find the numbers 1, 4, or 5 as the VIN’s first number, the manufacturer made the vehicle in the United States.

If you are not familiar with Nissan, you may think it is a foreign carmaker since most popular car brands make their cars outside the U.S. The same is true with Nissan.

Nissan Is Now Made in Different Countries

While it originated in Japan, Nissan makes its vehicles in different countries outside Japan. That includes many countries in North America and many other parts of the world. Most of the Nissan cars you see running on the roads and highways in the United States are made in this country.

Facilities That Manufacture Nissan Vehicles

Some of the most important facilities that manufacture Nissan vehicles are the following:

1. Oppama Car Factory

This facility builds smaller Nissan cars like the Versa. It is located in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan.

2. Tochigi Car Factory

This center builds Nissan’s high-performance models like the 370Z and the GTR. It is located in Kawachi District, Kaminokawa, Kamikamou, Japan.

3. Aguas Calientes Car Factory

This facility builds the Nissan Sentra for the Mexican, Latin American, and U.S. markets. It is located in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

4. Canton, Mississippi, and Smyrna, Tennessee Car factories

These factories manufacture a wide range of Nissan vehicles, from pickup trucks like Frontier and Titan to sedans like Altima and Maxima.

Nissan in North America

who owns nissan cars
Nissan North America

First Nissan Vehicles Were Built in 1935

Nissan first built their vehicles in 1935, at the Nishi-ku headquarters, in Yokohama, Japan. After launching said vehicles in the market, Nissan vehicles became popular over the next decades. After that, Nissan became a global brand.

Established Nissan North America

In 1958, Nissan introduced their vehicles in the American market. Around four decades later, in 1990, Nissan established Nissan North America, Inc. in the United States. The company chose Franklin, Tennessee, for its North American headquarters.

Manufacturing Operations in the United States

Nissan’s car manufacturing operations in the United States included the whole scope of car manufacturing which included the following:

  • Production/manufacturing
  • Automotive engineering
  • Automotive styling
  • Sales and marketing
  • Consumer/corporate financing
  • Distribution

Largest Carmaker in North America in 2014

Since 1999, Nissan is already a part of the Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance. Nissan holds a 34% controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors. It also holds a 15% non-voting stake in Renault. Renault, on its part, holds a 43.4% voting stake in Nissan.

Nissan became the largest carmaker in North America in 2014. It held the distinction as the world’s sixth-largest car manufacturer in the previous year. The first five were:

  • Toyota,
  • General Motors,
  • Volkswagen Group,
  • Hyundai Motor Group, and
  • Ford.

Earned the Distinction of Being the Leading Japanese Car Brand in Many Countries

However, the partnership between Renault and Nissan elevated the two carmakers to the fourth largest in the world. By itself, Nissan earned the distinction of being the leading Japanese car brand in Mexico, Russia, and China.

Largest Automaker in North America in 2014

In sustaining and increasing its production and marketing of its vehicles, Nissan became the largest automaker in North America in 2014. Nissan also became the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles (E.Vs) in April 2018, with its worldwide sales of 320,000 EVs.

The Nissan LEAF is its top-selling electric vehicle. Tesla Model 3 beat the no. 1 E.V. in the market.

Again, who owns Nissan? The Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance owns Nissan. This alliance started in 1999, with Mitsubishi joining the alliance in 2016. Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan’s stock, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault.

Origins of Nissan

Nissan’s Parent Company

The parent company of the present-day Nissan is the Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., a Japanese multinational car manufacturer that has its headquarters in Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Japan. At the start of the 20th century, Nissan traces its origins with Nissan Zaibatsu, now renamed Nissan Group.

Sells Vehicles Under Different Brands

Nissan sells its vehicles under the Datsun, Infiniti, and Nissan brands. It also builds performance tuning products such as the Nismo.

With its car plants operating worldwide, Nissan can innovate and develop vehicles that become popular with car buyers. It started to build cars outside of Japan in 1966, particularly in Mexico.

After that, Nissan expanded its car-building operations in other countries like Taiwan and Australia. Nissan finally impacted North America when it established its first car production facility in the United States, particularly in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Smyrna Nissan Car Plant

The Nissan car plant in Smyrna is producing the highest Nissan car volume in North America. This is the same facility where Nissan makes the Nissan Infiniti QX60, Pathfinder, Maxima, Altima, and Leaf.

History of Nissan

who owns nissan company
Yoshisuke Aikawa (right-front)

Founder of Nissan: Yoshisuke Aikawa

Yoshisuke Aikawa is the founder of Nissan. In 1928, he started Nihon Sangyo, a holding company, which means Nihon Industries or Japan Industries in English.

In the 1930s, Tokyo Stock Exchange coined the term Nissan, short for Nihon Sangyo.


The company name was Nissan “Zaibatsu,” which included other Japanese companies like Hitachi and Tobata Casting. Nissan did auto parts businesses and metal foundries. Aikawa, Nissan’s founder, only entered the car-making business in 1933.

Nissan Zaibatsu Grew and Was Composed of 74 Companies

Nissan Zaibatsu steadily grew and became 74 companies. It became the fourth-largest group of companies in Japan at the height of the Second World War. Another company, the DAT Jidosha Seizo, affiliated itself with Tobata Casting in 1931.

Merged with Tobata Casting in 1933

It eventually merged with Tobata Casting in 1933. Tobata Casting was a member of the Nissan group of companies. So, this is the time when Nissan involved itself in car manufacturing. At first, it was just a division of Tobata Casting.

Eventually, Aikawa separated the automobile parts division of Tobata Casting. He incorporated this new company as a subsidiary. Aikawa called this new company Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. However, the new company’s shareholders did not see the potential of car making in Japan.

So, in June 1934, Aikawa bought out all these shareholders using some capital from Nihon Industries. Through this action, Nihon Sangyo and Hitachi became the owners of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Important Events in Nissan’s History

We now continue discussing a brief history of Nissan by listing some of the important events that happened to the company since 1935:

From 1935 to 1965

  • Construction of Nissan’s first full-service manufacturing plant was completed.
  • Nissan became the fourth largest carmaker during World War II.
  • From 1953 to 1959, Nissan was able to build over 20,700 cars under the Austin brand.

From 1965 to 1985

  • In 1967, Nissan introduced the new Nissan L-Series engine.
  • In 1969, Nissan launched the Datsun 240Z.
  • Nissan built new car factories in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United States.
  • Nissan developed new car models including the Altima, Maxima, and Pathfinder.

From 1985 to 2000 and onwards

  • In 1985, Nissan achieved a cumulative car production that exceeded 40 million units.
  • In 1987, Nissan launched the Cedric Model Y31. It won the “Car of the Year” award in Japan.
  • Nissan shifted its focus to electric vehicles in 2000, by developing the EV Hypermini.
  • The EV Hypermini gained a level of success that prompted Nissan to enter the market of minicar.

Conclusion: Who Owns Nissan? Who Makes Nissan? Where Is Nissan Made?

A three-way partnership is known as Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi Alliance is the present owner of Nissan, a Japanese global car manufacturer. The ownership took effect in 1999, with Mitsubishi joining the alliance in 2016. In its original founding, the Nissan Group was called Nissan Zaibatsu.

Nissan made all its cars in Japan at the start of its car manufacturing operations. Now, they manufacture Nissan cars in North America and many countries across the globe.

The Toguchi Facility is one of the most prominent Nissan car plants globally. Nissan builds high-performance cars such as the 370Z and the GTR in this car plant.

Most of the Nissan car models that you see running the roads and streets of the United States are all made in this country.

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