Folks who are not intimately familiar with the peculiarities of the European auto industry often call Renault a similar basket case as its French rival Peugeot. January through March, both are down in Europe, PSA (-15.3 percent) more than Renault (-8.3 percent), but the big difference is that Renault has a much wider international footprint. What’s more, Renault owns 44.3 percent of Nissan. This international footprint helps Renault solve problems in ways Peugeot can’t touch. For instance, by making Nissans. (Read More…)
Brazil is touted to soon eclipse Japan as the world’s third largest auto market, and there is at least one Japanese company that wants to make hay of this: Nissan. The Nikkei [sub] heard that Nissan plans a Brazilian factory which “will have an annual production capacity of roughly 200,000 units and will begin churning out strategic small cars in 2014.” (Read More…)
As I just noted in my comments on the 2012 Nissan Tiida pictures, the US-market Versa is moving up a class in order to make room for the Nissan Micra, which takes over as Nissan’s subcompact responsibilities by early 2012 at the latest. To celebrate the nameplate’s new importance as a global model, Nissan created this Compact Sport Concept aimed not at the US, but “young customers in emerging countries.” The highlights: it’s a tarted up Micra, rocking the Juke’s lovable 1.6 liter direct-injected, turbocharged engine, making 188 HP, albeit with a CVT transmission. Which is (almost) exactly what I was thinking of when I argued that the marketing-hijacked Juke could have been a “Versa GTI.”
Without the marketers, it’s tempting to believe that Nissan’s engineers would have widened the Versa platform, added the fantastic turbocharged engine, and then decided to simply put a steroidal Versa body on top, creating the king of all B-segment hot hatches.
In the even smaller Micra body, that zesty turbocharged mill must be downright epic. Too bad the Micra will almost certainly never get the engine it has here, having been shown with a super-efficient 1.2 liter three-banger, and touted as a “super green” model for the US. On the other hand, there is reason to believe the new Versa could get this engine. We might just have to make do with that… unless Hyundai’s Veloster starts selling well.
When the high Yen drove Nissan out of Japan to Thailand, and to importing their Nissan March (elsewhere known as the Micra) from the Land of Smiles back to the Land of the Rising Sun, many thought this a daring, maybe even suicidal experiment. Will the notoriously nitpicky Nipponese buyer buy it? Or will “the first move by a Japanese carmaker to export a mainstay model to the home market,” as The Nikkei [sub] called it, be a resounding dud? Either the Japanese are changing, or Nissan pulled-off the impossible. (Read More…)
Nissan wants to invest “the Americas” with three new low-cost subcompacts, made in Mexico by their Aguascalientes factory that can crank out 300,000 units a year. The cars are based on the Nissan’s V-platform. The Nissan March (known outside Asia as the Nissan Micra) is currently being made in Thailand and re-imported to Japan. It sells there for around $10,000. (Read More…)
You think Japan is import-adverse? Have a look at that chart that follows, and you will see a wondrous trend: Japanese automakers are importing more and more foreign owned cars to Japan. Some of them even from the U.S. Now, the imports will increase. Not from the US, but from …. (Read More…)
Yesterday we confronted established automakers’ fears of the disposable automobile imported from China or India, but as Automotive News [sub] reports, the majors aren’t just sitting still on the issue. Nissan, which already sells a decontented Versa for $10k is planning two more vehicles at that price point for the US market, based on its new low-cost “V” platform. “The V platform will be sourced in Mexico” reveals Nissan’s North American chairman. Three vehicles will actually be produced in Mexico on the platform, but only two of them will be sold stateside.