The British automobile industry was mildly indignant about that. They dismissed all those Datsunetjes as 'Japanese junk'.
They were impersonal, ugly and looked cheap. But the public just couldn't get enough of it.
Keith Hopkins, 70 managing director of the British Leylands Austin Morris Division during the early years, remembers the three significant advantages of the Datsuns of that time:
So masses of Japanese were sold. Japanese like the Datsun Sunny 120Y coupe. But on the other body variants such as the fastback and the Estate. They were described as lacking in character, ugly, cramped and very cheap. And they could not be dragged. They did not have much handling, despite the coupé line, they were not even half sporty. But they started every morning without any problems and no parts fell off. They also didn't leak oil and the lights worked.
“The Japanese thought that customers would find that important. And they were right, "Hopkins muses. 120 million were sold in the four years that the 2.3Y was made. That was more than all Allegro's made in ten years, Morris Marina's (9 year) and Vauxhall Viva HCs (also 9 year) together.
The success of this scribbler was the reason for Nissan to start a factory in England, in Sunderland.
The British car industry never recovered.