Like Nissan Violet that appeared in 1973 and gave birth to two new models as second generation Nissan Auster and Nissan Violet in 1977, the Nissan Stanza started out in the similar fashion. The codename designated to all the three models was A10 and all of them were produced at Hiratsuka and Oppama, Japan. The A10 codename had already been used by the Toyota for its Toyota Carina. In 1981, the third generation model was launched with front-wheel drive layout that was based on the Compact MPV Nissan Prairie/Multi/Stanza Wagon.
The production of all the three models, i.e. Stanza/Auster/Violet was ceased in 1992. In North America, Nissan Altima replaced the Stanza, while Nissan Primera replaced the Stanza in Japan.
710 Series (1973–1977)
Prior to the appearance of Stanza, Nissan Violet was produced as a successor to the Datsun Bluebird 510 marketed as Datsun 140J/160J in the export market excluding United States, where it was sold as Datsun 710 series. It was available as 2-door saloon, 2-door coupe, 4-door fastback, 4-door notchback, estate and van. Compared to other models, Violet was just above the Datsun Sunny B210, but below the Datsun Bluebird U 610. The design of the Violet permitted the Nissan to reasonably alter the dimensions of the previous Datsun Bluebird.
Except for sporty SSS model that came with independent suspension, all the other models featured leaf spring.
Between 1973 and 1978, the car was designed and developed in Mexico and sold in the related markets as Datsun Sedan and Datsun Guayin. It was offered with 4-speed manual transmission until 1978 when 3-speed automatic gearbox was made optional. Considering the rounded design of the car, it was often referred to as ‘Bolillo’ which means ‘white bread’.
It was based on Nissan Cherry platform but remained a rear-wheel drive.
A10 series (1977–1981)
In 1977, the Stanza was launched for the first time as a rebadged version of Japanese Nissan Violet A10 and a companion vehicle to the Japanese Nissan Violet Auster. The term ‘Stanza’ is taken from Italian for ‘room’ or ‘apartment’, while the term ‘Auster’ is said to be taken from ‘Worster’ meaning ‘south wind’. The idea was to offer a family vehicle a step below the Nissan Laurel in an affordable price range. Its companion vehicle Nissan Auster was a one level below to its related Nissan Skyline sedan. Those dealerships that sold Cedric and Laurel, also sold Stanza, while Auster was offered at the dealerships that sold Gloria and Skyline. However, the Violet was sold alongside Datsun Sunny and Datsun Bluebird dealerships.
It was sold as Datsun Stanza in Australia and as Datsun 510 in Canada and United States. Total of five body styles were available, i.e. 2- and 4-soor saloons, 3-door hatchback coupe, 5-soor hatchback and a 5-door estate. It was equipped with a 2.0-L I4 L20B engine while the later models received 2.0-L I4 Z20 engine mated to a 4-speed manual (excluding hatchbacks), 5-speed in hatchbacks and a 3-speed automatic on all models.
T11 Series (1981–1986)
The first compact Datsun with front-wheel drive layout was launched as T11 series in 1981. Nissan with a view to establish the Stanza name in the export markets as well as to phase out the Datsun brand in favor of Nissan started its effort in 1983. For this purpose, Nissan offered T11 Stanza equipped with Z20E engine in United States to replace 510. Also, the Nissan Prairie remained in production but with a different name, i.e. the Stanza Wagon. The Z20E engine was replaced by 2.0-L straight-4 CA20E engine in 1984.
Three body styles were available for T11 series including a 3-door hatchback, 4-door saloon and a 5-door liftback. Japanese along with some other export models were sold as Stanza FX and available with 1.6-L and 1.8-L engines. Nissan AD van replaced the station wagon/delivery van.
The range offered in United Kingdom and other European countries was marketed as Nissan Stanza and include “L” 1.6 L, “GL” 1.6 L, “SGL” 1.6 L and “SGL” 1.8 L models.
T12 series (1986–1990)
In 1986, Nissan redesigned the Auster and Stanza and introduced them as T12 series. T12 series emphasized the squared styling. These were offered in Japan and United States. The model offered in United States retained the CA20E engine. It was said that the vehicle was too heavy for its class and the engine used in it was insufficient to provide it the required power.
Datsun/Nissan Bluebird was replaced by Nissan Auster in Europe. It was assembled in Sunderland, United Kingdom and renamed as Nissan Bluebird. The only real Bluebird was the estate version in this range that was directly imported from Japan.
The Stanza range became obsolete in majority of the export markets after the appearance of 1986 model as Sunny and Pulsar models were far too much in sales to leave a space for Stanza.
U11 Bluebird was replaced in Europe by T12 in 1985. The T12 began assembling at Washington, England with parts shipped from Japan in July 1986. Initially, saloon version was offered in the market followed by 5-door hatchback version in January 1987. Bluebird Estate was also assembled at Washington based on the U11 platform.
U12 Series (1990–1992)
For the 1990 model year, the American Stanza was replaced by the basic version of U12 series’ Nissan Bluebird, being dressed with Stanza badges. Nissan Primera and Nissan Presea replaced the Stanza and Auster in Japan and other related markets for the 1990 model year.
The difference between the JDM Bluebird and Stanza was laid in the fact that the rear license plate was mounted higher between the tail lights in Bluebird, while it was mounted on the bumper in Stanza.
Initially, two trim levels were available for the fourth generation Stanza including XE and GXE, while the sport SE model was releases in 1992.
It was powered by 2.4-L inline-4 Nissan KA24E engine with an engine displacement of 2398 cc and output of 94 hp (70 kW) to 138 hp (103 kW) and torque of 114 lb-ft (155 Nm) to 148 lb-ft (201 Nm). The KA engine was not offered in Japanese Bluebird versions. In 1992, the production of the Stanza was ceased and replaced by the American-assembled Altima which was based in Bluebird.