The Cherry featured FF layout, meaning front-engine, front-wheel drive. The Cherry line includes the E10 and F10. Nissan's direct successor FF model line was the Nissan Pulsar, still named in some markets as "Cherry".
In Italy, Alfa Romeo built a derivative of the N12 series known as the Alfa Romeo Arna, which Nissan also sold in the European market as the Nissan Cherry Europe and in Japan as the Nissan Pulsar Milano. These cars had only minor appearance differences: radiator grilles, steering wheels, fabrics, etc. were different.
Originally, before combining with Nissan Motors, the Prince Motor Company plan of development was to mass-produce a front-engine front-wheel-drive car, but after the Prince and Nissan merger of 1966, the Cherry was released in 1970 as Nissan's first front-wheel-drive car. In Asian markets there was also a "Cherry Cab" cabover truck model, which was closely related to the Cherry car and the Prince Homer.
1st Generation series: (1970-1974)
The E10 generation featured four-wheel independent suspension.
The E10 was fitted with two types of inline four-cylinder Nissan A-series OHV engines:
- 988 cc A10
- 1171 cc A12
The JDM Cherry X-1 model featured twin-carburetted A12T engine with dual-sidedraft Hitachi carburettors.
In Europe, E10 was called Datsun 100A (the Datsun brand being used in place of Nissan in the European market at that time) (with A10 engine) or Datsun 120A (A12, but this engine was only available with the coupé body style, also a semi automatic version of the ordinary car available in 1978). Reportedly, market names of Cherry and Datsun 1000 were also used, however the Datsun 1000 name was associated with the early Nissan Sunny and Nissan Bluebird. The Cherry was introduced in Japan at a specially established dealership sales channel called Nissan Cherry Shop, whereas the Sunny was sold at Nissan Satio Shop, and the Bluebird was sold at the Nissan Shop.
In the early 1970s, as the British auto-industry faltered, Datsun led the charge of Japanese auto-manufacturers rapidly gaining market share in the UK. Britain's Motor magazine polled readers about their cars, including, in February 1973, those who owned E10 Cherrys. The question given greatest prominence was the final one which asked whether or not respondents would buy another car of the same model: 76% of Cherry owning respondents answered “yes”, which was the top score for this question achieved by any model to date, and beat even the 66% “yes” score given by owners of the previous leader, the Volkswagen Beetle, at the time well known in the UK for its owners’ ferocious brand loyalty.
- 1970 October: E10 goes on sale in Japan. At the beginning were setting only of four-door sedans and two-door sedans.
- With 1970: 17th Tokyo motor show, exhibiting the concept car "270X" which designates the Cherry as the base.
- 1971 end of September: coupé version added
- 1972 March: three-door van version added
- Cherry coupé debuts in 1972 April race Japan. As a Nissan works entry, it participated also in other domestic Japan races.
- 1972 June: minor model change
- 1973 March: debut of Cherry Coupé 1200X-1 R with "fender flares"
- 1973: Revised model with updated grill, rear lights and hubcaps released
- 1976: Acropolis Rally privateer entry
- 1977: E10 production ceases