From the seventies to now, the needs and wants of car enthusiasts and owners have changed drastically. Other than the obvious technological improvements and upgrade car specifications one would expect to see changing over the decades, body styles and the overall vehicle experience has also played a large influence in the way many car makes and models have advanced. Perhaps now, with more demanding lifestyles and longer commutes, it is not always about the most futuristic car on the market, but rather the most practical.
In the seventies, the Nissan brand was beginning to make its presence felt with models like the Sunny (pictured left) and Cherry, both of which were well priced with a number of new technology features at the time, such as two-speed wipers, dual band radio and reclining seats, (and we’re pretty sure they fell under the Datsun name at the time too!). The Datsun automobile brand, owned by Nissan, hit its peak during the seventies before completely dying out in the 1986, coinciding with the opening of Nissan’s UK factory in Sunderland.
At the time, brands like Ford and Vauxhall dominated the marketplace and dictated car buying decisions, with models such as the Ford Escort, Cortina and Fiesta, and Vauxhall Astra and Cavalier proving popular amongst British car buyers. But gradually, Nissan established an ever-stronger presence in the UK, helped by the solid success of it locally-built cars from the new Sunderland facility.
As the Ford Fiesta’s popularity continued into the nineties, it faced new challenges from competitors such as the Renault Clio, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Micra. The Micra (pictured right) was particularly famed for its quirky design and surprisingly nippy performance on the road, so much so that by 1998 Nissan’s Sunderland plant had rolled out its millionth Micra!
In recent years, it seems that all eyes have been on the Nissan Qashqai. In 2013 alone, over 280,000 Qashqais were produced in Sunderland, contributing extensively to overall car manufacturing in the UK, which reached a six-year high last year. Now in its eighth year of production, with over one million Qashqais produced and a new model just released, Nissan is once again predicted to have a large influence in the expectations and buying habits of car buyers in 2014.
Looking back, it’s clear to see that while certain traditional brands have risen and fallen in the car industry over the years, newer players such as Nissan have been able to make their mark in the UK!