The DAT corporation in Japan had sold full size cars to Japanese consumers under the DAT name since 1914. In 1931 the company developed a new passenger car (500cc, 10 hp), which was more compact than the original DAT, so it was called DATSON – in the sense of Son of DAT. However in Japanese the word son means for loss, so later it was changed to sun.
The first prototype Datson was completed in the summer of 1931. The production vehicle was called the Datson 10. Datson 11 was sold in 1932. The Datsun 12 was an evolution of the Datsun 11. Much of the body remained the same and the must significant changes were mechanicals. Datsun 12 had a new, bored and stroked version of the DAT engine, which now grew to 748cc and produced 12 hp. A 2hp increase may now sound like much, but it was a 20% jump in performance. The engine was water-cooled and had 4 cylinders. Around 150 Datsun 12s were built, until it was replaced by the Datsun 13 in 1934.