There’s hardly a person who doesn’t know Toyota or Nissan. But it hasn’t always been this way. In the US, before 1958 only a handful of people held their hands on the wheel of a Toyota or Datsun – the export name of Nissan.
Officially, both brands entered the US market on January 9, 1958, at the Los Angeles Imported Car Show, featuring Toyopet Crown and Datsun-1000.
The American drivers and auto critics alike weren’t impressed by Toyopet. Although marketed to the U.S., the car was designed with Japan in mind. It was too heavy and underpowered for the American roads. Expensive price tag and questionable reliability also came as part of the package.
On top of that, the US drivers weren’t too fond of the name – Toyopet. It just didn’t sound like a serious name for a serious brand. In 1960, after two years of unsuccessful attempts to win over the hearts of Americans, Toyota stopped the sales of Toyopet Crown in the U.S.
Nissan, on the other hand, enjoyed a slightly better reception. Although the passenger model, Datsun-1000, didn’t appeal much to the American drivers, the small pick up truck turned out to be a hit. It offered good fuel economy and decent load capacity.
Today, the two brands hold the rightful place in our hearts and garages. It’s not uncommon to drive a Toyota or Nissan past 200,000 miles. What fuels your attachment to either of the brands? Do you find it hard to part with your good old Toyota Corolla? What’s your fondest memory of Nissan? Share with us in the comments.