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In 1981, Nissan shelved the Datsun name and began selling vehicles worldwide under the Nissan moniker. The '80s also saw Nissan's launch of a tuning division called Nismo for the development of performance-oriented vehicles and accessories. Nissan also brought its production to American shores, with the construction of a Georgia-based plant.

The early '90s saw Nissan's fortunes rise in the U.S. thanks to fun-to-drive cars like the 300ZX, Maxima and Sentra. But this trend didn't last long and by the late '90s Nissan's offerings consisted of anonymous vehicles. The company's future was uncertain.

After the turn of the new century Nissan bounced back, helped by a 1999 alliance with Renault that boosted the company's finances. Its redesigned Sentra and Altima boosted sales and consumer interest, as did new models like the 350Z sports car, Armada SUV and Titan pickup. Today the manufacturer is known for offering a wide range of well-regarded vehicles, including the popular Murano SUV, the incredible GT-R supercar and the all-electric Leaf.