Technical cooperation with Austin

The postwar restrictions on the manufacture of passenger cars were completely lifted in October of 1949. There had been just four years of interruption, but it had been a severe hardship for Japan’s auto industry. At that time some people voiced the foolhardy opinion that "Cars can always be imported from America," but the government was thinking of the future when it decided to foster the domestic auto industry, encouraging technical tie-ups with foreign manufacturers.
It was thus that Nissan Motor signed an agreement for technical cooperation with the UK manufacturer Austin in 1952. In April 1953, the knockdown production of the A40 Somerset Saloon was started. The reason why Austin had been chosen as a partner is that at the time no other company exported more cars to the US market.
The agreement stipulated that (1) annually 2,000 units of the A40 would be imported and assembled; (2) the components would be increasingly sourced from within Japan; and (3) Austin would provide all necessary technical support both for the assembly and for the shift toward domestic production.
In December 1954, because of Austin’s model change in the UK, Nissan too shifted to assembly of the A50. Good progress was made with the local sourcing of components, and in fact the 100% "Made in Japan" point was reached in August 1956, earlier than scheduled. The production technologies acquired as a result of this tie-up contributed greatly to the later development of the Cedric (1960).

In April 1953 the first Austin A40 leaves the production line at the Tsurumi Plant. Nissan has carefully preserved this first vehicle as well as the last one to be produced in Japan (in December 1959)