In order to uncover and bring you the (most) complete story of Datsun / Prince and Nissan in switzerland from the very beginning to today, i went through the major task of reading hundreds hundreds of documents, tracked down more than 350 Commercial register entries of more than 35 associated companies and spent hours in various online and physical archives and libraries. I’ve talked to dozens of involved people and collected hundreds of rare internal and public documents over the years to painstakingly puzzle it all together.
Since the story grew quite big once i fell into the rabbithole of information, i decided to split it into different slices, which got released one by one. See the different chapters below and click the links to read them.
I will of course update it whenever i find something new. And if you have any inputs, please let me know.
Part 1: Prince Switzerland
The (Hi)story of the short lived Prince / PMC / Mikado Brand in switzerland and their A.P. Glättli import company as well as the linked Hansa Garage, etc..
Part 2: The different companies
An overview and “map” about all the 35+ involved companies that formed what was later known as Datsun (Suisse) SA and is today known as Nissan switzerland, including a short explanation of each company and their purpose.
Even if it’s a bit of a nerdy post, i recommend to read this before you head over to the next part, as it will get you the basic understanding of how everything was linked together.
Part 3: The early years (1960 – 1977)
An in-depht look at the history of Datsun (Suisse) SA under the original FMG ownership by the Fehlmann family and later by The owners of Datsun Netherlands. Including loads of images and historic documents. It tells the story of the very first 1,5 decades of the Datsun brand in switzerland and their struggle to keep up with the exploding automotive mass-market and the rapidly expanding business, but also the struggle that came with the recession in 1973 and some general tough businesss-desicions that had to be made.
Part 4: The winding road to Nissan (1978 – 19xx / present)
In Part 4 we have a closer look at the very hectic years from 1978 under british ownership. I have dozens of old newspaper cutouts which are telling a quite interesting, at times hilariously comical story about a fight between the Swiss datsun dealership association and the Datsun switzerland owners, which went as far a a few dealerships loosing their sales agreement. This part also shows the road from Datsun to become Nissan and the transition from their early years to a modern-day company. It includeds loads of historic and rare internal documentation and many vintage photos of the Datsun (Suisse) SA.
Part 5: The Organisation
This part focusses on the import and distribution channels of Datsu switzerland. How were they organized? How where the parts and cars supplied to the dealers? how were the internally setup? Here we look at the technologies used and how the company was organized internally. Again including dozens of rareley seen historic internal documents and pictures.
Part 6: Advertizing, Promotional stuff and Exhibitions
In this part we’re having a closer look at the work of the Marketing department of Datsun / Nissan switzerland from the very beginning to the early nineties. Dozens of old ads, pictures from the big swiss motor shows and loads of funny givewaways are shown.
Part 7: Commercial vehicles
As a car owner this is maybe not the most interresting part, but you cannot tell the story of the Datsun / Nissan brand in switzerland without having a look at their slightly separated, but always closely linked Industrial & Commercial vehicles side-business. This part of the story involves the famous swiss firearms manufacturer “Hämmerli AG” and how a small repair shop in Berne became the main Datsun commercial vehicle import company as part of the Datsun / Nissan Group in switzerland.
Part 8: Pricelists
Over the years i collected many original pricelists from Datsun Switzerland and since they are sometimes important for collectors or for insurrance reasons, i scanned all the 1967-1979 pricelists and put them here in high resolution:
As with all my knowledge posts, i tried my best to get all information from trustworthy and official sources. However i can not guarantee that above information is 100% correct. If you have any correction, input or additional information, i appreciate if you let me know. I’ll update this post whenever i find something to add or change.
Also i put countless unpaid hours of research and work into this post and spent quite a bit of money to buy a lot of original documents, so please ask, before you copy anything, including the pictures. thanks!
Big Thanks to Marcel from the Bettelbrünneli Collection, Gerard from Zonedatsun, Heiko from Datsun.ch, Lara from the Central Library of Zürich and the ETH Zürich team behind the E-Periodica Archives. Without all of you, this posts wouldn’t have been possible!
I also was in contact with some people at Nissan switzerland, but still waiting for some information until today. If i get anything, i will update these posts immediately.