The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 05:18:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New York 2014: 2015 Nissan Murano Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-nissan-murano-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-nissan-murano-revealed/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:41:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=797577 murano4Details are scant, but here are first photos of the 2015 Nissan Murano.

While the Rogue is based on the global X-Trail, the Murano will have a standard V6 engine and is focused on markets that favor larger crossovers, like Russia and China. Expect more details at the New York Auto Show, which starts Wednesday.

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Final Fight Of The 300 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/final-fight-of-the-300/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/final-fight-of-the-300/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:56:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=787817 300m2

At the big blue water tower, Interstate 90, known locally as the New York State Thruway, sweeps in from the east and turns sharply southward to skirt the city of Buffalo. The main interstate is joined there by I-290, one of the loop roads that comes in from the north, and although the roads are both heavily traveled, the intersection is not especially well thought out. The 290, three lanes wide, makes a clean split, the leftmost lane joining the eastbound lanes of the 90 while the rightmost lane heads up and over an overpass before joining the westbound lanes. The middle lane offers drivers the opportunity to turn either way but most people opt to take the west bound exit and, because the right most lane is eventually forced to merge into the left lane prior to actually joining the 90, most people tend to hang in the middle lane prior to the split and, during rush hour, traffic tends to slow. Naturally, wherever cars slow, dickheads want to use the open lane to pass and then merge at the last moment.

Headed south in the early morning hours, traffic was moving along fairly well and I, in my 300M, was in line with dozens of other cars in the center lane when the big blue water tower and the 290/90 split hove into view. As usual, traffic began to slow, but there were no brake lights. Gradually, our speed dropped from the posted limit to around 40 miles and hour and I, along with everyone else in-line, stayed to the right as the center lane divided, a bare car length between me and the driver ahead. Given the distance, my attention was focused up the road rather than my mirrors so I was shocked when, out of the corner of my eye, I detected something that simply should not have been there, a car on my left.

Photo courtesy of Buffalo Spree Magazine

I hadn’t seen him approach, but there was only one way the light blue Nissan Cube could have shown up there. He had run up the left most lane faster than those of us in line and then, instead of staying left and heading east towards Rochester, he had gone straight-on across the center lane split and was now on the left shoulder and moving a good ten mph faster than the rest of us. In a millisecond he swept past, narrowly missing the side of my prized old Chrysler and then, hard on the brakes, stuffed his little econo-box into the small space between my car and the one I had been following.

Generally, I’m not prone to road rage, but in the moments that followed I saw red. Instead of jumping on the brakes and opening the space between us I stayed right in position bare inches from the offending car’s back bumper. The road moved up and over a small bridge and, on the other side, headed down to the 90 where it became the rightmost lane. At that point, most of the fast cars will generally shift left and scoot away while those of us headed downtown will shift onto the exit for Route 33. To my surprise, instead of moving left and making his getaway, the Cube turned right and since I just happened to be headed the same way I did so too. We ran down the off ramp just inches apart and, as we joined the highway headed downtown, I bumped the big Chrysler into “autostick” mode.

Nissan Cube

As we hit the merge I bumped the 300 down a gear and mashed the gas. The engine spun up and the sound that came out of the back was glorious. I drove the car into the left lane fully expecting to outgun the little Cube and to give him a taste of his own medicine as he attempted to merge but, alas, he wasn’t there. As the Chrysler surged forward, so too did the little economy car and, foot by foot as both of us stayed hard on the gas, the Cube slipped smoothly away.

Looking back on it, I didn’t act very smart that day. Had the Cube caused an accident I might have been justified in being upset but once he had managed to stuff his car into the gap I should have backed off and let him go. Still, I learned something about how quickly technology has advanced and how smaller cars with better performing engines are more than a match for older, larger “performance” (if that’s the right word for a 300M) sedans. The best thing is, of course, that no one had to be hurt to learn that lesson.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Nissan, Daimler Working On Mexican Assembly For Luxury Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/nissan-daimler-working-on-mexican-assembly-for-luxury-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/nissan-daimler-working-on-mexican-assembly-for-luxury-cars/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=778985 Infiniti-Q30-1

The need for economies of scale in the automotive industry is driving some interesting events. The latest, a reported joint venture between Nissan and Daimler, is yet another step for the two companies, which has seen the Renault-Nissan alliance enter into, well, an alliance, to share costs relating to R&D and manufacturing.

Reuters is reporting that the two auto makers have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a factory in Mexico that will produce the Mercedes-Benz GLA, as well as an all-new Infiniti car.

The new car is likely the upcoming Q30 compact, which will use the Mercedes-Benz front-drive architecture that underpins the GLA and its CLA twin, as well as the Mercedes-Benz A and B Class compact hatches. The front-drive architecture has been wildly successful for Mercedes-Benz, and letting Infiniti utilize it will only ease some of the financial burden required for an all-new architecture, with both marques sharing some of the manufacturing costs.

Damiler and Renault-Nissan’s most recent collaboration was the just unveiled Renault Twingo, which will share a platform with the upcoming next-generation Smart cars. This sort of collaboration is a harbinger of things to come as competition in the auto world gets increasingly fierce, and the need for scale becomes a bigger requirement for profitability.

 

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Japanese Automakers Find New Export Base, Opportunity In Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/japanese-automakers-find-new-export-base-opportunity-in-mexico/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:45:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769626 Mazda3s Loading Onto Three-Tiered Train Car

Within four months of each other, Honda, Mazda and Nissan have opened new factories in Mexico, taking advantage of the opportunities within the nation’s automotive industry to grow a new export base into the United States, Latin America and Europe while also gaining ground in the rapidly expanding local market, all in direct challenge to the Detroit Three and other automakers on both sides of the border.

Automotive News reports Mexico will become the No. 1 exporting nation to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest in large part due to the 605,000 units per year added by the three Japanese automakers. Meanwhile, Toyota will begin production in 2015 at Mazda’s newly opened Salamanca plant prior to deciding whether or not to build a new factory of their own. Nissan’s premium brand, Infiniti, may also set-up shop in Mexico.

In turn, the Japanese will see benefits from the move, from mitigating losses from a weaker yen in exports from home and greater profit due to cheap labor, to no tariffs on exports to the U.S. due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and improved product availability resulting from shorter distances between markets.

Speaking of free-trade agreements, Japanese automakers will also have access to some 44 countries and up to 40 million sales annually as a result of Mexico’s many agreements, allowing them to take on competitors in Latin America and Europe.

Finally, the Japanese have taken market share away from the Detroit Three in Mexico’s own automotive market, holding a collective 42 percent over Detroit’s 35 percent in 2013, when just four years earlier Detroit dominated with 57 percent of the market over Japan’s 23 percent.

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Cain’s Segments: Trucks Redux http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-trucks-redux/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/cains-segments-trucks-redux/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 05:47:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=769570 450x244x2014-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-Exterior-006-450x244.jpg.pagespeed.ic.zAXX8qzO80

February 2014 sales of America’s six continuing full-size pickup lineups grew 1.8%, but GM’s truck twins, the newest trucks on the block, fell 8.9%. Ford, Ram, Toyota, and Nissan combined for an 8.7% year-over-year increase to 94,225 units. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra’s decline equalled a loss of 4960 units compared with February 2013.

These full-size trucks accounted for 12.2% of the U.S. auto industry’s total February 2014 volume, up slightly from 11.9% in the equivalent period one year earlier.

Although the F-Series’ gain of 2.6% appears slight, this improvement occurred in an auto market which grew not at all. Moreover, a 2.6% increase for the F-Series adds 1393 extra units of a very profitable vehicle, more added sales than the Chevrolet Volt managed in total.

Total Ford brand sales slid more than 7% in February as car volume plunged 16.8% and sales of the Blue Oval’s five utility vehicles dropped 4.3%. Ford’s car division outsold the F-Series by just 1354 units; the F-Series outsold the utility vehicle lineup by 3040 units. 30.5% of the new vehicles sold by the Ford Motor Company last month were F-Series pickups.

At the Chrysler Group, where car sales dropped 14.7% and generated just 29% of the company’s February sales volume, the Ram Pickup range’s 28.4% improvement was more than welcome. And it was also expected. Over the eleven months leading up to February, the average year-over-year Ram P/U sales increase weighed in at 25.5%. From 16.3% in February 2013, Ram’s share of the full-size truck market (extinguished Escalade EXT and Avalanche excluded) rose to 20.2% in February 2014.

Often mocked for its inability to crank out sales like the top-selling Detroit trucks, the Toyota Tundra continues to be a somewhat popular vehicle by conventional automobile standards. Through the first two months of 2014, it ranks 41st among all vehicles in total U.S. sales, having ended 2013 as America’s 43rd-best-selling vehicle. Tundra sales have increased in each of the last five months, but the current pace won’t have Toyota matching 2007’s high-water mark. Toyota could easily sell more than 120,000 Tundras in 2014 – 196,555 were sold in 2007.

Analyzing the Nissan Titan’s market penetration as it begins its eleventh full year without any meaningful refresh is like studying the merits of a veteran linebacker’s knack for sacking in the twilight of his career. The Titan has for the most part become irrelevant, a fact which won’t make the reintroduction process an easy one when the new Titan arrives. Titan sales reached their peak in 2005 at 86,945 units, fell below 20,000 units four years later, and totalled just 15,691 in 2013. Titan volume is down 33.8% this year and February market share in the category fell below 1%.

From a market share-losing perspective, the Chevrolet Silverado’s decline was worse. (Obviously, the Silverado is America’s second-best-selling vehicle. The Titan is not.) 29.2% of the segment’s sales were Silverado-derived at this time last year, but last month, that figure fell to 25.2%. GMC Sierra market share declined by only a hair, from 9.9% in February 2013 to 9.8% last month.

As a whole, the pickup truck segment generated 11% of its February 2014 sales with small/midsize trucks, on par with results from the equivalent period one year earlier. Thank the Nissan Frontier. Sales of the Titan’s little brother shot up 112% to 5791 units.

Truck
Feb.
2014
Feb.
2013
%
Change
2 mos.
2014
2 mos.
2013
%
Change
Ford F-Series
55,882 54,589 + 2.6% 102,418 101,330 + 1.1%
Chevrolet Silverado
36,584 41,643 - 12.1% 65,510 77,088 - 15.0%
Ram P/U
29,303 23,289 + 25.8% 54,374 43,763 + 24.2%
GMC Sierra
14,232 14,133 + 0.7% 25,350 26,979 - 6.0%
Toyota Tundra
7923 7306 + 8.4% 15,813 14,310 + 10.5%
Nissan Titan
1117 1634 - 31.6% 2004 3028 - 33.8%
Total
145,041
142,494 + 1.8% 265,469 266,498 - 0.4%

 

Truck
Feb.
2014
Share
Feb.
2013
Share
2 mos.
2014
Share
2 mos.
2013
Share
Ford F-Series
38.5% 38.2% 38.6% 38.0%
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
35.0% 39.1% 34.2% 39.0%
Ram P/U
20.2% 16.3% 20.5% 16.4%
Toyota Tundra
5.5% 5.1% 6.0% 5.4%
Nissan Titan
0.8% 1.1% 0.8% 1.1%
Full-Size Share Of
Total Pickup Truck Market
89.0% 87.6% 88.7% 87.2%
Full-Size Pickup Share
Of Total Industry
12.2% 11.9% 12.0% 11.9%
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Leno Talks Nissan IDx: What’s Left Unsaid Speaks Volumes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/leno-talks-nissan-idx-whats-left-unsaid-speaks-volumes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/leno-talks-nissan-idx-whats-left-unsaid-speaks-volumes/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:42:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=768962 IDx Freeflow / IDx NISMO

The Nissan IDx concept, which debuted at the Tokyo motor show back in November of last year, is in the news again, this time appearing on YouTube as a part of the popular Jay Leno’s Garage series. We learned in January that the IDx is expected to go into full production and Nissan has been relentlessly seeking publicity for it by taking it to events all around the country. It is a good looking little car with just enough retro touches to remind people of the times when Nissan was sold in this country under the Datsun brand name and this video is the lengthiest review of the car I have yet seen. Leno spends a lot of time speaking with the car’s designer about all the little details that make the car so special and then takes it on a real world test drive. If you haven’t seen it yet, take time to look at it now as it will soon be the topic of discussion around water coolers and wherever else it is that car guys gather these days.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Rather than review the video, I’ll let you watch it and draw your own conclusions but I was struck by the fact that, even during the test drive, there was no discussion about the car’s driving dynamics or performance. Leno and the car’s designer ride around together talking about silly things like three-box design philosophy and keeping the car cheap so that normal people can afford it, but at no point does Jay say, “Wow, this thing handles great” or “Wow, this thing really accelerates.” Perhaps it was a simple omission on the part of the video’s producers but I feel like it could be more than that and, because of it, I am getting an odd sense of foreboding.

Back when Nissan announced that the IDx would go into production, they mentioned that the turbocharged engine in the show car would not make the final cut. They suggested instead that the production car would mount a 1.6 liter four cylinder and this earlier statement is confirmed by the designer during his ride with Leno. What does not come up in this conversation, however, is the other bit of informaion Nissan originally dropped in their January announcement: that their stated choice of transmissions for the car is their continuously variable transmission.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.org

I would imagine that, if Nissan was paying attention to the opinions of their many fans and had elected to go with a different choice of transmissions, the designer would happily have trumpeted that decision during the interview. The fact that he ignores the transmission altogether makes me feel even more certain that the IDx will be delivered exactly as Nissan’s original announcement indicates – sans manual. Frankly, I am disappointed, and unless the company takes action to offer at least some version of the car where people can row their own gears, I think the IDx is going to be another one of those cars that almost, but not quite, caters to the enthusiast market.

To be sure, I’m not sure if catering to the enthusiast market is a wise thing to do for a car intended to sell in large volumes, but I would like to think that our opinions still matter. If nothing else, enthusiasts generate buzz around a new car and that excitement can and does drive people into the show rooms. The industry has this habit of hyping cars to the enthusiast market and then coming up short and, frankly, I don’t like it. I believe the BRZ/FR-S is not selling in the numbers they expected because Toyota and Subaru decided they knew better than us about what people really wanted in a small sporty coupe. Dodge, too, horribly botched the debut of the new Dart by failing to bring enough automatic transmissions to market something that is, from my perspective, at least partially to blame for their failure to sell what is otherwise a nice little car. Will the Nissan IDx be the next example of a promising little car that ultimately under-delivers? I honestly hope it isn’t because I would love to live in a world where we have more than enough cute, zippy, fun to drive little cars running around, rather than a world where I am always right.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Geneva 2014: Nissan Juke http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-nissan-juke/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:15:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765185 Nissan-Juke-01

The big news for the Nissan Juke is what you can’t see: according to them, Nissan claims that the cargo area is 40 percent larger on front-wheel drive models, now up to 12.5 feet. World markets also get a new 1.2L turbo 4-cylinder engine. I’m just hoping they’ll finally give us an all-wheel drive 6MT version. I’m glad it’s still weird.

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Diaz Promises Profitable Share Gains, More Competitive Titan For Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/diaz-promises-profitable-share-gains-more-competitive-titan-for-nissan/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 15:20:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=757121 Fred Diaz with Cummins Diesel For Nissan Titan

Nissan North America sales boss Fred Diaz expects his employer will gain more mind and market share in 2014 in the run-up to the 2016 Titan’s debut in showrooms, a truck promised to be more competitive than the current model.

Automotive News and WardsAuto report Nissan’s market share in 2013 nudged upward to 8 percent from 2012′s 7.9 percent share. Meanwhile, January 2014 sales rose 12 percent while overall industry sales fell 3 percent, and slashed sticker prices on a number of Nissan’s most popular models helped to to lower incentives by $375 while raising average transaction prices to $95 per unit sold.

Finally, Diaz himself met with the dealer advisory board monthly, as well as held discussions with all 1,167 dealerships in the United States, to learn about and adopt necessary product changes needed to bring more profits back to his employer.

One of the products in question is the 2016 Titan, where Diaz took those suggestions to heart during his visit to Nissan’s design studio in La Jolla, Calif.:

I was pleasantly surprised, but I also saw some things that could be improved significantly. No doubt I hurt some feelings and stepped on a few toes. I was pretty tough with the suggestions I made. We just needed to do a few things with the lines and the front of the vehicle.

The upcoming Titan is expected to match 90 percent of the competition’s various features and configurations in terms of cabs and engines, including a Cummins 5-liter turbodiesel V8. Nissan is also betting on the all-American soul that the newly designed pickup will bring to the table, having been engineered in Farmington Hills, Mich, designed in California, and assembled in Canton, Miss. with the aforementioned Cummins coming down from Columbus, Ind.

Diaz expects his employer will source 85 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to come from plants in the U.S. and Mexico. Nissan is also in the early stages of revamping its ordering system so dealers can order and receive inventory at a faster clip than current.

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Is The Nissan LEAF Worth The Green? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/is-the-nissan-leaf-worth-the-green/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/is-the-nissan-leaf-worth-the-green/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754225 Click here to view the embedded video.

What happens when the subsidy is over?

This is a question that I tried to study in depth about a month ago when one of my friends had a 10 year old Toyota Prius that had seemingly lost it’s battery.

It turned out that he didn’t need a new car, or a new battery. A stray rodent had inflicted minimal harm to the wiring and his temporary search for a new ride quickly came and went.

However, I did some deep drilling for him one evening since his question was one with more unknowns than the typical car purchase. He wanted a LEAF, new our used, as his next car.

What shocked the hell out of me is that the numbers may indeed work… new or used.

The word may is a key operative term here…

Before I delve into the deep ocean blue of numbers crunching, let me offer each of you three (four!) simple questions.

1. Do you live in one of those wonderful states that offers a $5000 state subsidy for buying a LEAF?

2. Does your income enable you to make use of all the federal and state tax credits? And do you have excellent credit?

3. Are you willing to deal with an electric car that will be losing about 20% to 25% of it’s range by the time it reaches 100,000 miles.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you answered no to any one of these (four!) three questions,  then do not buy the LEAF under any circumstances unless you are willing to “invest” in the electric technology that powers it.

So as for those 10% of you who are left (no it’s 5% you cheating used car selling bastard!), let’s go a bit deeper.

If you are only looking for a short-term deal and pure numbers are guiding your decision, then lease. The numbers between a two year lease and a three year lease change based on whatever special packages and bogus fees are ordained by the local dealership. These will likely include a $595 acquisition fee, a $395 disposition fee, a $250 documentation fee (this is an estimate based on TrueCar data for all 50 states), and about $2000 worth in states taxes, title transaction costs, registration costs, and the two lukewarm sodas you get to drink while the general manager of the dealership gets to plan for a weekend run to Vegas thanks to all the fake expenses he gets to collect.

Not to worry though, because the deal also enables you to screw take advantage of every subsidy known to these electric car programs. Federal Tax Credits. State Tax Credits. Possible Charging System Subsidies. Lower Rates For Your Electric Usage. HOV Lane Stickers. Truth be told, buying a Nissan LEAF is the closest most individuals will ever get to enjoying the benefits of becoming their very own large corporation. All these credits amount to over $13,000 in real world cost and to top it all off, you get to thumb your nose at the oil companies.

Once you throw auto insurance to the mix,  your real world costs on an annual basis will likely run around $360 a month, or just $12.00 a day, and that includes everything. Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance Costs, Tax Credit Reductions… it’s a steal of a deal in every sense of the term if you can pass through all the hoops and ignore the monetary flesh wounds of your fellow Americans who now pay $25 a day according to the American Automobile Association.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Typical car owner losing vital limbs thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Nissan Motor Company

The spreadsheet doesn’t publish well at a site like TTAC. But long story short, I was a financial analyst my first two years out of college and I’m happy to share it with anyone who has a remote interest in all the numbers. Feel free to email at steve.lang@thetruthaboutcars.com.

Now as for the buying side, there were four (three!) unusual findings.

1. The running costs of a LEAF, if you opt for the $100 a month battery guarantee, is roughly equivalent to a 10 year old Nissan Sentra.

2. Insurance costs between a LEAF and that Sentra worked out to only about a 13% difference. $1132 for the LEAF vs $1010 for the Sentra according to my insurer, USAA.

3. If you avoid the dealership’s service department like the plague and buy a $5 turkey baster for your brake fluid servicing, the LEAF will likely be cheaper to operate than a 10 year old beater Sentra.

Click here to view the embedded video.

There is one area of variance that came into play in my calculations. Battery life and the climate’s impact on it.

If you live in an area with searing heat and unusually cold winters, say, like Atlanta these last few months, your battery pack will likely wear out a bit faster than the owner who enjoys a constant mild temperature year round.  Once you or Nissan decide to discontinue the battery program, you may be living on borrowed time. So you have to figure out at what point you are willing to make that trade.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Then again, you may find in the near future that replacement parts are cheap enough elsewhere, and that this battery lease program will not be needed going forward. As a long-time owner of a 1st gen Insight and the first two generations of the Prius, I can attest to that outcome coming true more often than not.

So if it were my money, or the money subsidized to me by my fellow Americans, I would recommend the following.

1. If you buy the LEAF new, opt for the battery replacement program right before the vehicle hits the 5 year / 60,000 mark.

2. Replace the pack after the first go round, which will likely offer increased range and longevity, and then stop paying for the battery lease program.

3. Start prospecting for replacement parts if you absolutely do plan on keeping the LEAF past the 12 to 15 year mark.

A one to two year old Nissan LEAF is right now running the gamut of between $16,000 for a non-CPO LEAF with about 35,000 miles, to $22,000 for one that has less than 10,000 miles and is eligible for Nissan’s Certified Pre-Owned program.

That’s quite a range. However, it comes down to this.

A LEAF costs about as much to operate as a 10 year old Sentra that has 120,000 miles. I spent an insane amount of time trying to figure this out, and now that I finally have done so, I’m going to let my fellow enthusiasts buy a 1st gen Miata and forget they ever read this tome to automotive androgyny.

Click here to view the embedded video.

THE END…

 

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Nissan To Drop Versa Sedan In Canada As Micra Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-to-drop-versa-sedan-in-canada-as-micra-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-to-drop-versa-sedan-in-canada-as-micra-debuts/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 18:45:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=752905 450x298xMicra-14-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.DYLxdk25LH

The Canada-only Nissan Micra debuts in April, with Nissan hoping to pick up overall market share in The Great White North. But Automotive News reports that one casualty of the Micra’s introduction will be the Versa Sedan – hardly a surprise when both compete at the absolute low end of the market.

While the Versa Note will still be sold in Canada, the Sedan will be dropped according to Nissan Canada spokesman Didier Marsaud. Citing Nissan’s three subcompact entries, Marsaud told TTAC

“The Nissan Micra has been extensively tailored for Canadians and specifically to complement the Versa Note in Nissan Canada’s product lineup.  We decided that it is best to focus Nissan Canada and our Dealers’ attention on Versa Note and Micra.  As a result, we made the decision to discontinue selling Versa Sedan in Canada after the 14 Model Year.”

Removing the Versa sedan also gives the Sentra some breathing room, with the Sentra outselling the entire Versa lineup by a couple thousand units in 2013.

 

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2014 Nissan Micra In Detail http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-nissan-micra-in-detail/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2014-nissan-micra-in-detail/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:59:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=741577 Micra (14)

 

At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan debuted their Canadian-only Micra, an A-Segment car that takes up the Kia Rio’s one-time mantle of being the sole new car available for less than $10,000. At the show, we learned a few things about the Micra.

While the Micra uses the Versa’s 1.6L 109-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, it won’t get a CVT, but will offer a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. With the Micra weighing about 2100 lbs, it should feel nimble, but acceleration will be leisurely, given that its power to weight ratio is similar to an original Miata.

According to Nissan, the Micra has been localized for Canada with features like a rear heating duct in the floor, large, heated mirrors and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. The crash structures have also been re-designed to meet Canadian vehicle standards, which are more nearly identical to American regulations. For a vehicle market of roughly 1 million units, this seems like an expensive undertaking. But evidently, Nissan feels that there’s some value in doing this for a product that competes in a traditionally unprofitable segment.

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Nissan Micra To Cost $9998 In Canada http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-micra-to-cost-9998-in-canada/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/nissan-micra-to-cost-9998-in-canada/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 15:25:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=741169 2014-Nissan-Micra-62

 

At the Canadian International Auto Show, Nissan announced that the new Micra, slated for Canada only, would slot in just under $10,000, making it the cheapest new car on sale in Canada. Compared to world markets, the Micra has some Canadian-only features, like an upgraded HVAC system and split-folding rear seat (to carry hockey bags and other large parcels).

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Next Generation 2016 Toyota Tundra To Share 5.0L Cummins Turbodiesel with Nissan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/next-generation-2016-toyota-tundra-to-share-5-0l-cummins-turbodiesel-with-nissan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/next-generation-2016-toyota-tundra-to-share-5-0l-cummins-turbodiesel-with-nissan/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 14:02:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=740673 983587_10151548891138579_994498399_n
WardsAuto reports that the next generation 2016 Toyota Tundra pickup will receive the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel for 2016, the same engine that will be powering the next Nissan Titan pickup, due for 2015. While Toyota had been working on a diesel engine with Hino, Toyota’s heavy-truck division, the economic crash of 2008 shelved the plans. With new found interest in light diesels and the new Ram EcoDiesel leading the way with favorable reviews and excellent fuel economy, Toyota looks to jump quickly into the light diesel truck market.

The new Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel is confirmed to produce 300 hp and 500 ft lb of torque in the Titan, so we can expect similar numbers for the Toyota. Not only does this engine produce more torque than any gas motor in a light duty pickup, but even tops the Ram EcoDiesel’s 420 ft lb, making it the most powerful torquiest engine offered in any light duty pickup. This is a a strong move for Toyota and Nissan, possibly helping to bridge the gap between their half-ton pickups and Ford, GM and Ram’s heavier duty 3/4-ton pickups; an area where neither manufacturer currently offer a product.

Both Toyota and Nissan would like a larger chunk of the U.S. light truck market, which last year moved over six million trucks through dealer lots. For 2025, CAFE standards push for a fleet target of 54.5 MPG, making a fuel efficient diesel a necessity for Toyota. The Cummins is thought to a stop-gap for Toyota, as they reconsider their in-house diesel engine produced by their heavy-truck arm, Hino Trucks.

The 2008 economic crash was truly a game changer for light duty diesel engines, and we are just now beginning to see the effects.

Toyota had been working with Hino Trucks to produce a diesel engine for the Tundra, and had shown concepts of a 1-ton dually version of their then-new Tundra at the 2007 SEMA show. Plans for a heavy duty Tundra, along with the in-house diesel engine were shelved after the 2008 crash.

Ironically enough, the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel was originally destined for the Dodge Ram, and this will be the first time a Cummins motor has been sold in a pickup outside of the Ram. The engine was developed while Dodge and Nissan were planning to share a full-size truck chassis, but the ’09 bankruptcy sunk those plans, and Dodge was unhappy with the estimated fuel economy of the 5.0L Cummins. Nissan made the move to keep the engine.

Through Fiat ownership, who also owns VM Motori, the Ram 1500 received the 3.0L V6 turbodiesel  instead of the Cummins 5.0L V8 turbodiesel. The VM Motori 3.0L V6 turbodiesel was also destined for another home, GM. The 3.0L V6 turbodiesel was originally planned for use in the European Cadillac CTS, though GM also shelved its light diesel plans during its ’09 bankruptcy. Fiat and GM were 50/50 partners on VM Motori until September 2013, when Fiat announced GM would sell the remaining 50%.

And that wasn’t the only diesel GM shelved. Some may remember the Duramax 4.5L V8 turbodiesel GM had been brewing for its light trucks. GM was an early proponent for a modern light duty diesel, but it too was a victim of the ’09 bankruptcy. With new pressure from Ram, Toyota, and Nissan, it’s thought GM may dust off the Duramax 4.5L turbodiesel and bring it to market.

Sources say Ford is working on a light duty diesel as well, planning for a 2018 arrival. With new pressure from its competitors, it will be interesting to see if Ford can join the crowd in time.

2015 looks to be an interesting year in light duty pickups. We will see how the new 3.0L EcoDiesel fairs in light truck use, and both Toyota and Nissan should be rolling out their examples. We can only hope the pressure puts GM and Ford to work getting their light diesels ready.

As long as the price on the diesel option remains reasonable, light diesels should do well in half-ton pickups. Diesels offer superior fuel economy to their gas counterparts in nearly all conditions, especially under load. The Ram EcoDiesel is showing incredible (for a pickup) real world fuel economy numbers, with our own Alex Dykes seeing 29 mpg highway, and 24.2 mpg average in his review of the 2013 Ram Ecodiesel. This, along with superior torque figures to their gas counterparts, would give the average buyer a very decent towing option for those who aren’t ready to step up to the heavy duty trucks, with higher prices and substantially noisier heavy duty diesels.

Here’s a little anecdotal story about the Tundra in the lead photo. It is owned by my friend, and is built to be a mobile work shop for a variety of traveling work: From disaster insurance adjustment, to contracted construction work, to race-support at Pikes Peak and other events. It’s a work truck, through and through, with tool storage and 110v power to run electric power tools off of. One of the major reasons he didn’t go with a heavier duty diesel truck is simply because of the noise, “Man, this thing has to idle all the time while I work. Nobody likes to listen to the CLACKCLACKCLACK of a diesel truck. I just needed something quiet, dependable, and with a long bed. I don’t need a big diesel.” And it works admirably, I spent about 2,000 miles in it during our 2013 run at Pikes Peak with Rally Ready Motorsports. The only real fault with the truck was its horrific fuel economy with the 4.7L V8: with the bed cap and a fair payload it returned less than 13.5 mpg on the highway with speeds averaging 70 mph.

Had a light duty option been offered earlier, it would have fit this role perfect. The light duty work truck deserves a good diesel option.

 

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Chicago 2014: Nissan Versa Note Gets “Sporty” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-versa-note-gets-sporty/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-versa-note-gets-sporty/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 05:51:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=736081 2015 Nissan Versa Note SR

Nissan has added a few “sports car-inspired” design cues to its practical grocery getter.

Badged as an SR model, this facelifted Versa Note features a new grille design, smoked headlights, dark wheels, ground effects and a nice little rear spoiler. The interior has also been given a little bit of the 370Z treatment with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and suede-like fabric seats featuring orange accents.

While the little 1.6-liter fourbanger delivers the same 109 horsepower as the base model, this car will make for an aggressive-looking subcompact capable of 31 and 40 miles-per-gallon in the city and on the highway, respectively.

Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-11 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-09 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-08 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-07 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-05 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-02 Nissan-Versa-Note-SR-01

 

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Chicago 1989: Where Are They Now? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-1989-where-are-they-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-1989-where-are-they-now/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:10:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735185 1989-Acura-NSX-prototype-during-Chicago-Auto-Show-public-days

The 2014 Chicago Auto Show marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of two of God’s most perfect creations: The Mazda Miata and the Acura NSX. Long-time readers will know that I have a strong affinity for both of these cars. The Miata was the first car I ever owned, while the NSX remains a focal point in my relationship with the automobile.

Automobile Magazine takes a look at both of those cars, as well as three others – the Lexus LS400, the Infiniti Q45 and the Nissan 300ZX – in what is considered to be a very strong draft class for the Japanese auto industry. Four of the five cars still exist in one form or another, with the NSX said to be just around the corner – though that’s been the word since it was discontinued roughly a decade ago.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is that even today, these cars still stand the test of time, whether it’s a pristinely preserved Miata or a tired LS400. Get behind the wheel of any of them, and they still manage to thrill and excite, even if they don’t seem quite so fresh.

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Chicago 2014: Nissan Displays Diesel Frontier http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-displays-diesel-frontier/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-2014-nissan-displays-diesel-frontier/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:51:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735113 frontier-diesel-runner

 

What you’re looking at is a diesel powered Nissan Frontier. For now, it is not a production model, but Nissan is apparently studying it for production. Like its big brother, the next-gen Nissan Titan, there is a Cummins diesel, but it’s a 4-cylinder, not a V8. Displacing 2.8L and putting down an estimated 200 horsepower and 350 lb-ft, the Frontier uses a ZF 8-speed automatic to put power to the ground.

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Ghosn Talks Platform Sharing, Cost Saving & Teamwork Aspects of Renault-Nissan Alliance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ghosn-talks-platform-sharing-cost-saving-teamwork-aspects-of-renault-nissan-alliance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/ghosn-talks-platform-sharing-cost-saving-teamwork-aspects-of-renault-nissan-alliance/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 10:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=732634 Common Module Family (CMF): A New Approach to Engineering for th

Carlos Ghosn, head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, told the Automotive News that the companies will jointly develop two vehicle platforms that, shared between the two companies, will each provide the basis for more than 3 million vehicles by 2016.

 

Ghosn predicts that by that year the entire industry will have only five platforms that support that large of a volume and that by 2020, about three quarters of the alliance’s output will be based on just four platforms. In part by sharing platforms the alliance now expects to save 4.3 billion euros ($5.8 billion) by 2016, about $900 million more in cost reductions than originally anticipated. The other part of that savings will come from joint operations in manufacturing, logistics, r&d, purchasing and human resources.

“We are going to be really leveraging better than most of our competitors in size and scale,” Ghosn said to Automotive News. “If you have the right strategy and product, size matters. Size will really protect you from your competition.”

The first of those two platforms is the Common Module Family platform for C and D segment sedans, crossovers and SUVs.

Commenting on why the tie-up between Nissan and Renault has lasted so long when other relationships between automakers have faltered, Ghosn stressed that they deliberately fostered teamwork as opposed to a takeover mentality.

“After 15 years of working together, we are capable today of envisioning things that were practically impossible to execute five years ago,” Ghosn said. “People would have spent their time resisting and explaining why they cannot do it, instead of making it happen.”

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Nissan Outsold By Honda In Home, U.S. Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-outsold-by-honda-in-home-u-s-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-outsold-by-honda-in-home-u-s-markets/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 18:30:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727946 Nissan-Sport-Sedan-Concept-01

Though Nissan remains Japan’s second-biggest automaker with a wide gap ahead of Honda, the latter continues to outsell the former in the United States and at home, much to Nissan’s dismay

According Automotive News, Nissan’s global sales for 2013 increased 3 percent to 5.1 million units, while Honda’s rapid 12 percent growth in sales only managed 4.3 million units in the same period. Further, Nissan sold 86 percent of its 5.1 million vehicles — 4.4 million, to be exact — outside Japan, Honda doing as well by selling 3.5 million of its 4.3 million overseas. Overall, Nissan beat Honda in Europe, Mexico, China and most of Asia, yet lost to Honda in Japan and the U.S.

At home, the reason is due to Honda’s popular line of kei cars (all made in house), and all having undergone a total revamping as of late. Meanwhile, Nissan has partnered with Mitsubishi to make kei cars after years of farming out the practice to the former’s rivals. Though things appear to be looking up for Nissan, they will be looking up at Honda for a good while: Honda sold just over 400,000 kei cars in 2013 to Nissan’s 186,000, while also growing 27 percent in kei car sales against the latter’s 21 percent.

Across the Pacific, Nissan is gaining on Honda’s other home turf, selling 1.2 million units for a 9 percent increase in sales against their rival’s 7 percent increase and 1.5 million units in 2013. Market share in the U.S. held at 9.8 percent for Honda while Nissan took a tenth of a percentage for an even 8 percent in the same period.

Though Honda has done well for itself since becoming the first Japanese auto manufacturer to build a factory in the United States back in 1982 for the Honda Accord — such as exporting more cars around the world from the U.S. than from Japan in 2013 for the first time ever — Nissan aims to turn up the heat through the tandem of new production coming from Mexico, and aggressive tactics devised by Nissan North America’s new chairman Jose Munoz, who is under standing orders to boost his employer’s share of the U.S. market to 10 percent.

Either way, both Honda and Nissan still have a ways to go to take on Toyota; the No. 1 Japanese and global automaker moved 9.98 million units worldwide in 2013.

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Nissan, Ad Agency Settle With FTC Over Hill Climb Dramatization in Frontier Ads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-ad-agency-settle-with-ftc-over-hill-climb-dramatization-in-frontier-ads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-ad-agency-settle-with-ftc-over-hill-climb-dramatization-in-frontier-ads/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 05:46:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=707490

Click here to view the embedded video.

Nissan North America and TBWA Worldwide, Nissan’s ad agency have agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the FTC’s claims that a television commercial for the Nissan Frontier misled consumers about the truck’s ability to climb hills. The 30 second ad, titled “Hill Climb”, portrayed a Frontier pushing a stranded dune buggy up a steep sand dune. In reality, the Frontier wold not be able to perform the stunt in the ad. To shoot the ad, both vehicles were towed up the hill using cables.

According to Automotive News, the FTC said that Nissan and the ad agency are prohibited from using potentially misleading demonstrations in future advertisements for its trucks. No fines will be paid and both companies issued statements saying they never had any intention of misleading consumers. “Nissan takes its commitment to fair and truthful advertising seriously,” Nissan spokesman Travis Parman wrote in an e-mail. “The company has been and remains committed to complying with the law.”

“Special effects in ads can be entertaining, but advertisers can’t use them to misrepresent what a product can do,” Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “This ad made the Nissan Frontier appear capable of doing something it can’t do.”

While the ad did flash a disclaimer on the screen, in small print: “Fictionalization. Do not attempt,” the FTC deemed that insufficient to protect consumers that might think it was not a dramatization.

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Honda, Nissan, Toyota Set Production Record Against Weakening Yen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/honda-nissan-toyota-set-production-record-against-weakening-yen/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:32:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=706538 Toyota Baja California Assembly Line

As the yen weakened against the dollar for a second consecutive year, Honda, Nissan and Toyota all set production records in their North American plants in 2013, according to Automotive News.

Outputs for the trio last year include 1.86 million units for Toyota, 1.78 million for Honda, and 1.47 million for Nissan, though gains on the production line didn’t match sales in the United States. However, exports took up the slack in U.S. showrooms, with more units sent to growing markets such as South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Latin America.

As far as individual models are concerned, Honda built 466,695 Accords at their Marysville, Ohio plant in 2013, around 20,000 more than the number of Camrys Toyota workers at the automaker’s Georgetown, Ky. plant.

The Japanese Three expanded their presence in North America as insulation against a falling yen, which fell 17.6 percent against the dollar in 2013 after falling 11 percent in 2012, as well as protection from overseas production disruptions that could affect North American output. In fact, Honda will soon open a plant in Celaya, Mexico to build the Fit, with the long-awaited 2015 NSX to be assembled in an experimental plant in Marysville.

Regarding Hyundai and Kia, the two South Korean automakers set a few records of their own in North America, including 399,495 Sonatas and Elantras leaving Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala. plant, and 105,647 Santa Fes rolling out of the Kia line in West Point, Ga.

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Chart Of The Day: Here’s What The Jeep Cherokee Is Up Against In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/chart-of-the-day-heres-what-the-jeep-cherokee-is-up-against-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/chart-of-the-day-heres-what-the-jeep-cherokee-is-up-against-in-2014/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704050 2014_Jeep_Cherokee_North_4x2_Edition_Canada_Front

 

With the first month of 2014 sales nearly wrapped up, we’ll soon get our first look at how the Jeep Cherokee has fared, following the initial shipment of delayed units. Much has been made of the Cherokee selling 10,000 units in November and 15,000 units in December: it was a great storyline for Chrysler to promote in the run-up to NAIAS, and one for the hometown media (in both Detroit and Toledo) to rally around. Left out of the cheerleading was the fact that these figures accounted for the 25,000 units reportedly sent to dealers in one fell swoop. Can you say “pent up demand”?

But even if the Cherokee continued to sell at that pace – say, 15,000 units per month as an optimistic projection, where would that place it in the larger picture of the small crossover segment?

crossovergraph2

Small crossovers may not be popular with enthusiasts, but it’s impossible to deny how important this is to the industry at large. In 2013, five of the top 10 best selling SUVs in America were small crossovers, while the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape (the top selling small crossovers) were the 8th and 10th best selling vehicles in America. Together, those two made up just under 1/3rd of the segment’s volume. Add in the third place Chevolet Equinox and fourth place Toyota RAV4 and you have 57 percent of the segment represented in just four nameplates.

The graph above represents the uneven distribution of the segment’s sales, with the top four nameplates sitting comfortable, while a number of small players compete for scraps at the bottom of the graph. This isn’t unique in the market either – Juan Barnett’s analysis of the midsize market shows a somewhat similar distribution of nameplates clustered at the top and bottom. Like the midsize segment, the small crossover category is a crowded one, and the addition of the Cherokee just adds to the competition.

Assuming the 15,000 unit pace holds through 2014, that would give the Cherokee 180,000 units at year end, placing it above the Nissan Rogue (which sells roughly 160,000 units) but below the RAV4. In that context, the 15,000 unit per month figure being bandied about is far less impressive, but it’s important to note a couple things.

The Toldeo, Ohio factory that builds the Cherokee is capacity limited to about 250,000 Cherokees per year. Even running flat out, Jeep wouldn’t be able to catch the CR-V or Escape. Considering that some of the 250,000 units will go to Canada and other global markets, 180,000 is a respectable number. Even more significant is what the Cherokee will do for the Jeep brand compared to the Liberty (as demonstrated in the chart below).

 

cherokeelibertygraph

 

The comparison with the Rogue will be an interesting one. In the same way that the 200 should sell at the level of the Optima, Malibu or Sonata, the Cherokee and Rogue will likely inhabit the same stratosphere in the segment. The new Rogue has also undergone Nissan’s patented process of making cars suitably bland for American tastes, through their expanded dealer network. Similar to the Altima’s gradual climb through the midsize ranks, the combined capacity for 180,000 units of the Rogue (100,000 in Smyrna, Tennessee and 80,000 at the Renault-Nissan facility in Korea), combined with additional units of the Rogue Select (which Nissan will likely not break out from Rogue sales) should enable to Rogue to post higher sales figures by the end of 2014. On the other hand, don’t expect things to change at the top.

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UAW Hopes For Swift Southern Unionization Victory ‘Overly Optimistic’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/uaw-hopes-for-swift-southern-unionization-victory-overly-optimistic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/uaw-hopes-for-swift-southern-unionization-victory-overly-optimistic/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:28:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=703914 Bob King

Outgoing United Auto Workers president Bob King admitted that his timetable for a swift unionization of one of the auto plants in the Southeastern United States was overly optimistic.

Though the UAW is still slogging through efforts at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. and Nissan’s Canton, Miss. plants, King hopes that the VW workers will become card-carrying members before union rules bring his four-year term to a close in June 2014. King believes the only thing holding back the assimilation is the process in which to bring UAW membership to a vote, stating that a “strong majority” of the VW workers have submitted cards in support of joining the union.

In his speech at the Automotive News World Congress last week during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, King said that while workers in European and Japanese auto plants throughout the United States were not opposed to UAW membership, past organizing efforts have been hampered by employers through intimidation tactics and threats of unemployment. King further claimed that without the current push to bring the workers under their umbrella, jobs in the automotive industry would come to consist of “low-wage, temporary labor working under unsafe conditions” in the 21st century.

On the other side, Volkswagen and Nissan — the latter specifically called out by King for their alleged anti-unionization efforts — both stated that they would respect the wishes of their factory employees in whatever they decided to do regarding the UAW.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan Maxima, Brake Fluid Overdose Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-brake-fluid-overdose-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/junkyard-find-1986-nissan-maxima-brake-fluid-overdose-edition/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=701706 01 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see some weird stuff in San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yards, from lunatic-with-a-glue-gun art cars to dipped-in-battery-acid rust to chopped, Italianized Swedes. Last weekend, I stopped by a well-stocked Oakland self-serve yard and found this puzzling brake-fluid test vehicle.
03 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinI’m thinking that Cartel Products probably didn’t hire some East Bay Maxima driver to use their silicone brake fluid and advertise the fact with scary-looking nail-polish-painted signs all over the car. That leaves the question: who, and why?
06 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinWell, nail-polish and mailbox stick-on letters.
09 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe radiator smelled like brake fluid.
12 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinBut it gets weirder than that. Who puts brake fluid in the windshield washer system? And then installs inline fuel filters in the squirter lines?
08 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is one of those 1980s Japanese cars that had all the control labeling translated directly into English, regardless of hyphenation. SECU-RITY!

01 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1986 Nissan Maxima Down On The Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Nissan IDx Will Be Produced, But What About The Z? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-idx-will-be-produced-but-what-about-the-z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/nissan-idx-will-be-produced-but-what-about-the-z/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 20:16:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=700649 Conceptz (1)

With Nissan product boss Andy Palmer confirming that the IDx concept car will go into production, the auto world is rejoicing over the prospect of another affordable sports car. But Palmer also let slip some interesting news about the next Z, which will also see a reduction in engine size.

According to Autocar, the next Z will have a downsized turbocharged engine, likely a 4-cylinder, though Palmer didn’t discount a V6 powered Nismo variant. Hopefully we’ll see get a reduction in curb weight and footprint as well, wearing the historic badge but transitioning into the S16 Silvia that never was.

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Montreal Has Monopoly On A-Segment Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/montreal-has-monopoly-on-a-segment-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/montreal-has-monopoly-on-a-segment-debuts/#comments Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:40:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=695897 Nissan-MarchK13 (2)

The often-ignored Montreal Auto Show will have two major debuts, both A-segment cars that may not make it past the 49th parallel. According to Autos.ca, Mitsubishi will debut a production-ready version of the G4 concept, aka a Mirage sedan, while Nissan will show off a Canadian-spec Micra. The diminutive Micra will likely slot below the Versa Note in size, but perhaps be positioned as a chic city car, to compete with the Fiat 500.

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