Prince Motor Company
|Prince Jidōsha Kōgyō Kabushiki-gaisha|
|Founded||June 30, 1947(Foundation of the Tokyo Electric Car Company)|
|Defunct||August 1, 1966|
|Fate||Merged into Nissan|
|Subsidiaries||Rhythm Friend Manufacturing (current THK Rhythm)|
The Prince Motor Company was a Japanese automobile manufacturer from 1952 until its merger with Nissan in 1966. Prince began as the Tachikawa Aircraft Company, a manufacturer of various airplanes for the Japanese Army in World War II, e.g., the Ki-36, Ki-55 and Ki-74. Tachikawa Aircraft Company was dissolved after the war and the company took the name Fuji Precision Industries. It diversified into automobiles, producing an electric car, the Tama, in 1946, named for the region the company originated in, Tama, using the Ohta series PC/PD platform. The company changed its name to Prince in 1952 to honor Prince Akihito's formal investiture as Crown Prince. In 1954 they changed their name back to Fuji Precision Industries, and in 1961 changed the name back again to Prince Motor Company. In 1966, they became part of Nissan, while the Prince organization remained in existence inside Nissan, as Nissan Prince Store in Japan until Nissan consolidated the Prince dealership network into "Nissan Blue Stage" in 1999.
Prince had success building luxury automobiles. Among its most famous car lines were the Skyline and Gloria, both of which were absorbed into the Nissan range after their 1966 merger; however, they also built the 15-passenger Homy which was eventually shared with the Nissan Caravan and the Nissan Laurel, a four-door sedan platform mate with the Skyline, on which Prince had begun development before the merger but was introduced after the merger in 1968. Prince had also begun development on a small car to compete with the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sunny, but after the merger, the car was introduced as the Nissan Cherry using front wheel drive.
Tachikawa Aircraft Company
- December 1946 - The electric car division of the Tachikawa Aircraft Company became independent and was activated as the Fuchu Plant of the Kosoku Kikan Kogyo Co., Ltd..
- June 30, 1947 - The Fuchu Plant of the Kosoku Kikan Kogyo Co., Ltd. became the Tokyo Electric Car Company. (Official foundation date of the Prince Motor Company.)
- February 1949 - Shojiro Ishibashi invested in the Tokyo Electric Car Company and became the chairman.
- November 30, 1949 - The Tokyo Electric Car Company changed its name to Tama Electric Car Company.
- November 1951 - The Tama Electric Car Company changed its name to Tama Motor Company.
- November 1952 - The Tama Motor Company changed its name to Prince Motor Company.
- April 10, 1954 - The Prince Motor Company merged with its engine supplier Fuji Precision Industries. The new company was named Fuji Precision Industries and the name Prince Motor Company disappeared in the meantime.
Nakajima Aircraft Company
- August 16, 1945 - The Nakajima Aircraft Company changed its name to Fuji Sangyo Co., Ltd..
- November 6, 1945 - The GHQ defined Fuji Sangyo as the Zaibatsu and decided to disband them.
- May 1950 - Fuji Sangyo Co., Ltd. was disbanded.
- July 1950 - Fuji Sangyo Co., Ltd. was divided into twelve companies. Of them, the Tokyo Plant (located in Suginami, Tokyo) and the Hamamatsu Plant became Fuji Precision Industries.
- April 1951 - Shojiro Ishibashi became the chairman of Fuji Precision Industries.
- April 10, 1954 - Fuji Precision Industries merged with its customer Prince Motor Company. The new company was named Fuji Precision Industries and the name Prince Motor Company disappeared in the meantime.
After Merger of Fuji/Prince Until Merger with Nissan
- February 1961 - Fuji Precision Industries changed its name to Prince Motor Company. (The name "Prince Motor Company" revived.)
- 1962 - Prince became the first Japanese car company to field a works team in a European rally, the Liège-Sofia-Liège. Neither of the two Skylines entered finished the rally, which had an 82 percent attrition rate.
- May 1965 - Prince Motor Company announced the merger with Nissan Motor Company.
- August 1966 - Merged into Nissan Motor Company.
List of vehicles
- Prince Sedan (the first passenger car of Prince)
- Prince Gloria (a luxury sedan & wagon)
- Prince Skyline (a performance coupe/sedan)
- Prince Homy (a cargo van/minibus)
- Prince Homer (a pickup truck based on the Homy)
- Prince R380 (a race car)
- Nissan Prince Royal (a limousine made for the Imperial Household of Japan)
- Nissan Cherry (a small front-wheel-drive coupe and sedan)
- Prince Clipper (a cabover truck)
- Prince Light Coach (a large capacity passenger bus shared with the Clipper)
- KATSURAGI, Yoji "The Beam of the Light of the Prince Motor Company" Grand Prix Book Publishing Co., Ltd., October 22, 2003 (Japanese) ISBN 4-87687-251-1
- A short history of the Prince Motor Co., Ltd. (nissan-global.com)
- TOMA, Setsuo "Prince - A Japanese Car Maker With A Proud Legacy" Miki Press Inc., October 25, 2008 (Japanese) ISBN 978-4-89522-518-2
- 『「プリンス」荻窪の思い出 II』荻友会編 私家版 1997年11月16日 "Prince - Memories of Ogikubo" Private press by Tekiyukai (former Prince engineers)Association, Nov. 16, 1997 (Japanese)
- Björklund, Bengt, ed. (September 1962). "Japansk Rallydebut" [Japanese Rally Debut]. Illustrerad Motor Sport (in Swedish). No. 9. Lerum, Sweden. p. 7.
- Björklund, Bengt, ed. (October 1962). "Rally sensationer" [Rally Sensations]. Illustrerad Motor Sport (in Swedish). No. 10. Lerum, Sweden. p. 8.