The bodystyle was originally designed for Fiat as a replacement for the Fiat 127, but Fiat then adopted the Giugiaro styled Uno instead. It was introduced in the European market in June 1983, and in Canada in 1984 for the 1985 model year (replacing the slightly larger Nissan Pulsar hatchbacks). Because the Micra was launched during Nissan's rebranding effort to systematically phase out the Datsun name, a small "Datsun" (ダットサン, Dattosan) appeared on the tailgate for the first two years, and in some European markets, the car was known as the "Datsun-Nissan Micra". The Datsun badges had disappeared completely by the end of 1984. The Micra was initially available with an extremely refined all-aluminium MA10S SOHC engine. European market cars developed 50 PS or 55 PS in the high compression version coupled with the five-speed option. It was also available with either automatic (called "Nissanmatic"), four-speed or five-speed gearbox. Both the automatic and five-speed manual gearboxes were unusual in a supermini at this time. The Nissanmatic model originally had a 60 PS (44 kW) version of the 1-liter engine.
* These figures are obtained from laboratory testing, are intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real life driving results. Optional equipment, maintenance, driving behaviour, road and weather conditions may affect the official results