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. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 Costs, Currency Issues Killed Mitsubishi-Renault Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/costs-currency-issues-killed-mitsubishi-renault-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/costs-currency-issues-killed-mitsubishi-renault-deal/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:09:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989674 Currency fluctuations and a lack of volume helped bring an end to a deal that would have seen Mitsubishi sell Renault-Samsung vehicles as their own in North America, according to a report by Just-Auto. While Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi will continue to share production of a kei-class minicar in Japan, proposed plans to sell a large Renault-Samsung vehicle […]

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Currency fluctuations and a lack of volume helped bring an end to a deal that would have seen Mitsubishi sell Renault-Samsung vehicles as their own in North America, according to a report by Just-Auto.

While Renault-Nissan and Mitsubishi will continue to share production of a kei-class minicar in Japan, proposed plans to sell a large Renault-Samsung vehicle as a Mitsubishi in North America have been put on hold, along with the potential to export other models in the future. Currency issues and a lack of profitability for Renault-Nissan were cited as the main reasons that the deal fell through. Mitsubishi is apparently still open to searching for a new partner, while dealers are said to be growing anxious about a lack of competitive sedans in North America.

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Nissan Looking Beyond Federal Credits For Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989562 Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV. According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit […]

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Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV.

According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit harms EV adoption:

Being the first ones on the market, we should be among the first ones to reach 200,000, and you penalize those who’ve tried to be first?

That said, even when the $7,500 credit goes away, Nissan has plans to make the Leaf more attractive, from increasing the range to reducing the cost of the EV’s lithium-ion battery pack. Loing admits that the latter’s cost issue hasn’t improved quickly enough, and worries that falling oil prices aren’t going to help much either.

He was pleased with how well the Leaf fared in 2014, however; 30,200 units left U.S. showrooms that year, an all-time record for Nissan.

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Editorial: Nissan Is Not Volkswagen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-nissan-is-not-volkswagen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 20:43:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988858 Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path? If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading. News of […]

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Here’s a question that will determine your reaction to the editorial below. What does a car company need more: a strong lineup of volume offerings, or a few niche products that exist in this world, but will likely never cross your path?

If you chose the second answer, you may want to stop reading.

News of the indefinite delay of exciting products like the Nissan IDx concept and the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prompted the usual wailing/gnashing of teeth from Jalopnik.

In an editorial titled “Nissan Steps Back From IDx And Q50 Eau Rouge To Focus On Boring Junk”Patrick George suggests that Nissan’s decision to focus on the core products in their lineup is a bad one.

“Ugh. Basically, their plan is to shy away from compelling products and double-down on boring ones to chase volume. That’s awesome. That’s what the world needs. It’s worked so well for Volkswagen, hasn’t it?”

We can go right past the long-beaten dead horse of “enthusiast cars don’t make money, nobody buys them, boring sells”, pass go, collect $200 and hone in on the Volkswagen analogy. It is wildly inaccurate.

As it stands now, Nissan is on a tear. The Altima, Versa and Rogue are strong sellers, at or near the top of their respective segments. The Juke isn’t a particularly strong seller in the United States, but it’s a global success. Even the Sentra, which is a particularly dreadful car to drive, does well. Nissan has a large dealer network, a long, successful history of manufacturing cars in the United States and a full lineup of passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, CUVs, commercial vehicles and sports cars.

Volkswagen has…none of that. Its history in the United States consists of the Beetle, Microbus and then a long history of mis-steps and an utter failure to understand the American marketplace, let alone even market vehicles that Americans want. The prior generation of Euro-oriented Passats and Jettas didn’t move the needle with the American public. Neither did this generation of Americanized cars. That doesn’t mean that Nissan’s approach to future strategy is *anything* like VW.

Not that it’s even about America. Lost in all the pandering and faux indignation is the fact that this is a globally-focused move, one that will help Nissan (and Renault and Dacia and Samsung) compete with VW in world markets, where Volkswagen is supposedly hoarding its best products. While VW is stumbling in the dark, Nissan is busy working on their own modular platforms, and they’re not keeping them away from North America either. The new CMF platform that underpins the Rogue is the same as the European X-Trail. Expect more of that in the future.

Aside from the lore of the Z-Car, the SE-Rs and the 240SXs, Nissan had a tumultuous experience in the 1990s, prior to Carlos Ghosn’s ascension to the throne. Despite being one of the more interesting Japanese performance car manufacturers, the company was a mess financially and organizationally. Ghosn turned the company around, at the expense of a lot of the interesting product that we fetishize.  Not pursuing the I is a good move – one look at how well the Scion FR-S is selling and you’d have to be delusional (or willfully ignorant in the pursuit of pageview clicks) to suggest a similar model for Nissan. As for the Q50 Eau Rouge? The lack of Sebastian Vettel and any coherent direction for Infiniti likely had more to do with that decision than anything else.

By focusing on the volume product, Nissan is sticking with what works – and perhaps, it will get better in terms of driving dynamics, styling, interior quality and the other metrics we value. At least we’ll see a good mid-size truck out of it.

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Piston Slap: Justy-fied Freestylin’ over CVTs, Part IV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-justy-fied-freestylin-cvts-part-iv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-justy-fied-freestylin-cvts-part-iv/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:40:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975865   Mark writes: Hello, I enjoy reading the piston slap series. I have a 2009 Altima with the 2.5 4 banger and the CVT transmission. I’m not a big fan of the CVT, but it works ok and gets decent mileage. I bought this car as it was the cheapest car I could find that […]

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NS-1 For the Win? (photo courtesy www.cockramnissan.co.nz)

Mark writes:

Hello,

I enjoy reading the piston slap series.

I have a 2009 Altima with the 2.5 4 banger and the CVT transmission. I’m not a big fan of the CVT, but it works ok and gets decent mileage. I bought this car as it was the cheapest car I could find that fits 4 adults and qualified me for the cash-for-clunkers handout. I didn’t expect to keep it long or pile the miles on it this quickly but now it has 90k on it. I mostly drive it without any passengers as we now have 3 kids and the minivan gets used for family duty (just had one kid when we bought the Altima). I’m trying to decide if I should hold onto it or sell it – it’s kind of at that point where if I keep much longer, I’ll probably end up driving it into the ground.

The transmission is the wildcard to me – is there a consensus whether these trannys can be expected to last for 150k or more miles? The trans warranty goes through 120k but by that point the vehicle probably won’t be worth a whole lot.

Sajeev answers:

That body style Altima was my favorite rental in its class for a while, its CVT was surprisingly on point. Compared to other manufacturer’s downright slothy 6-speed automatic transaxles, Nissan’s CVT (from 2007 and up?) was no slouch in any metric.

Even if the transmission fails right after the warranty expires, this isn’t an unobtainium gearbox like the Subaru Justy.  Nissan’s been in the CVT game for years now, odds are they’ve spent millions investing in this future (including warranties). There’s a learning curve in rebuilding/diagnosing them, but (in theory) CVTs are fairly straightforward.  This webinar brings a ton of valuable pros and cons of CVTs from the perspective of a local transmission rebuilder.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I know, I know…it’s a long video. But what we think is a black box full of magic and devilish thoughts, others have dug in there and know how to fix them. The more I watch, the more comfortable I feel in owning a CVT car to run cost effectively for 200,000+ miles.

If you need a new CVT and a rebuild is not ideal, finding a low mile replacement from the junkyard should be simple and somewhat affordable. But the best thing you can do is RTFM and change the fluid as needed.  And ONLY use fluid recommended by Nissan, or a fully compatible counterpart. Use regular ATF and you’ll probably grenade the gearbox in a few months.

More to the point: NS1-FTW SON!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-nissan-titan-xd-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-nissan-titan-xd-revealed/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 14:30:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=977745 Nissan is going big with its new 2016 Titan, especially with the larger Titan XD. The larger of the Titan’s two fully boxed frames, the XD’s 151.6-inch wheelbase is 20 inches longer than the standard Titan. The truck is powered by a 5-liter Cummins V8 capable of 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, and […]

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Nissan is going big with its new 2016 Titan, especially with the larger Titan XD.

The larger of the Titan’s two fully boxed frames, the XD’s 151.6-inch wheelbase is 20 inches longer than the standard Titan. The truck is powered by a 5-liter Cummins V8 capable of 310 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a six-speed Aisin automatic. The diesel option also helps the XD slot in between half-ton and three-quarter ton trucks, a category it will have all to itself for now. Gasoline-fueled V6 and V8 engines are on the cards for a later date.

Towing capacity is an SAE J2807-certified 12,000 lbs when properly equipped, while the max payload is 2,000 lbs. Towing is handled with an integrated brake controller, trailer sway and downhill speed controls, and a lighting system check. The XD can also be had with an electronic locking rear differential.

The Titan will come in three cab configurations, five trim levels, and the aforementioned two frames and three powertrain options. Other features include: 12-volt and 120-volt power outlets; blind-spot warning; front and rear sonar; fold-out rear floor; lockable storage under the rear seat; and a 7-inch touchscreen with NissanConnect. No price has been announced thus far.

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Chart Of The Day: 11 Years Of Nissan Titan Market Share http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-11-years-nissan-titan-market-share/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-11-years-nissan-titan-market-share/#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 13:01:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968138 Nissan USA announced on December 16, 2014, that the next Titan, the second Titan, the first all-new Titan since 2003, will be introduced at 2015’s NAIAS in Detroit on January 12, 2015. Hardly altered since the production truck arrived for the 2004 model year, the Titan is now somewhat embarrassing. Yet while the truck never […]

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nissan titan u.s. full-size trucksNissan USA announced on December 16, 2014, that the next Titan, the second Titan, the first all-new Titan since 2003, will be introduced at 2015’s NAIAS in Detroit on January 12, 2015.

Hardly altered since the production truck arrived for the 2004 model year, the Titan is now somewhat embarrassing. Yet while the truck never had the potential to tackle full-size pickup trucks from Ford, General Motors, and Ram – Toyota can’t either – in the same way Nissan’s Altima can outsell their midsize sedans and Nissan’s Versa their subcompacts, initial U.S. volume was respectable.

This chart shows the first-generation Nissan Titan’s market share in America’s full-size truck segment over the first eleven years of its tenure. Without heavy-duty versions, countless engine options, and myriad trim lines, the Titan was at a disadvantage before one even takes into consideration the loyalty engendered by Detroit’s massive truck lines. But when Nissan was grabbing 3% of the full-size truck market as recently as 2007, we would have guessed that they were primed to interpret that as either a reason to give up or a reason to put up a fight. They are putting up a fight, but not until next year, six years after their market share fell below 2%.

Another truck making its debut in Detroit? The Toyota Tacoma, which this year sells 12 times more often than the Titan.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Canada Auto Sales Recap: November 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/canada-auto-sales-recap-november-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/canada-auto-sales-recap-november-2014/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 13:41:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963210 Canadians registered more new vehicles in 2013 than any year in the country’s auto-buying age. Yet in 2014, that record was very nearly broken in the first eleven months of the year. Auto sales in Canada through November 2014 rose 5.5%, a gain of 89,000 units compared with the first eleven months of 2013. Despite […]

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TTAC Chart Canada recapCanadians registered more new vehicles in 2013 than any year in the country’s auto-buying age. Yet in 2014, that record was very nearly broken in the first eleven months of the year.

Auto sales in Canada through November 2014 rose 5.5%, a gain of 89,000 units compared with the first eleven months of 2013.

Despite a sharp 3.4% decline in the number of passenger cars sold in November, the Canadian auto industry was up 3.6% last month thanks to strong pickup truck volume (up 15% to 25,811 units) and continued improvement in the SUV/crossover category.

The overall passenger car market was let down by sharp decreases from the most popular cars in the country last month. The Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Jetta – Canada’s first, third, fourth, and sixth-best-selling cars – produced 3198 fewer sales this November than in November 2013, a 21% drop. The remainder of Canada’s available car nameplates, more than 130 vehicles, generated a 2.8% increase when those four top sellers are excluded.

The Civic’s 27% November drop presented an opportunity for the Honda CR-V to surge to the top of the Honda leaderboard. Indeed, the CR-V was Honda Canada’s best-selling model in November 2014; Canada’s top-selling SUV/crossover, as well. The Ford Escape was thus knocked into second spot on the SUV/crossover best seller list for the first time since December of last year. CR-V sales shot up 56% to 4461 units in November 2014. It ranks third among utility vehicles year-to-date, 15,803 sales back of the Ford Escape; 934 sales behind the Toyota RAV4. All three are primed to break the sales records they set one year ago, as is the fourth-ranked Nissan Rogue, sales of which doubled in November.

18.6% of the new vehicles sold in Canada last month were pickup trucks, up from 16.7% in November 2013. The four top-selling truck nameplates, full-size pickups from Ford, Ram, and General Motors, generated a combined 18.6% year-over-year volume increase to 23,580 units, equal to 91.4% of the overall pickup truck market.

In November and through the first eleven months of 2014, Jeep is Canada’s fastest-growing volume brand. Sales at the Chrysler Group’s SUV brand jumped 44% in November to 5887 units, 28% of the automaker’s total November sales during a month in which Chrysler Canada was the country’s largest manufacturer.

Through the end of November, the Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram) trails the Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln) by a scant 0.3% difference. By a wide margin, FoMoCo’s namesake Ford brand is Canada’s best-selling auto brand. Toyota is 94,504 sales back through eleven months. Among premium brands, Mercedes-Benz outsold BMW by 447 units in November, enough to spread the year-to-date gap to 772 sales. Audi, which has reported an 18.5% year-to-date sales improvement and jumped 30.5% in November, is Canada’s third-ranked premium brand.

Audi is one of 16 brands which sold more vehicles in the first eleven months of 2014 than in all of 2013. Nissan and Ram are the biggest brands to shoot past their 2013 sales levels with at least one month remaining in 2014.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Monday Fun: Nissan Parties Like It’s 1995 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/monday-fun-nissan-parties-like-its-1995/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/monday-fun-nissan-parties-like-its-1995/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955842 If you’re like me, a dose of 90s Japanese automotive nostalgia is about as good as Prozac. Friend of TTAC Michael Banovsky unearthed this gem – a still intact website from 1995 highlighting Nissan’s home market offerings at the Tokyo Motor Show. Coming on the tail end of Japan’s golden age of automobiles, the development cycles […]

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If you’re like me, a dose of 90s Japanese automotive nostalgia is about as good as Prozac. Friend of TTAC Michael Banovsky unearthed this gem – a still intact website from 1995 highlighting Nissan’s home market offerings at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Coming on the tail end of Japan’s golden age of automobiles, the development cycles planned at the height of Japan’s economic bubble were coming to an end. For Nissan, this was a few years before the Carlos Ghson-era, and the rationalization of product and platforms had not yet begun. Vehicles like the Cima, Cedric and Gloria were sold side-by-side despite marginal differences in styling and content, while the aging 180SX was sold alongside the much more modern S14 Silvia.

My pick of the lineup is the Rasheen (above), a Pulsar-based CUV that coupled the slab-sided styling of a Hummer with the packaging of a Dacia Sandero-like front-drive CUV that was meant to be rugged and spartan, rather than a RAV4-like cute-ute.

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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Versa Still Rules Roost As Fit Sales Reach 42-Month High In October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/versa-still-rules-roost-fit-sales-reach-42-month-high-october/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:21:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=947057 American Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116. The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in […]

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Honda Fit EXLAmerican Honda reported the Fit’s best October ever last month. At 6851 U.S. sales, Fit volume was up 83% year-over-year to the highest total since April 2011, when Fit sales shot up 73% to 8116.

The new Fit, the third version of Honda’s sub-Civic car for North America has certainly been well-received early on in its tenure. With Honda sales rising to the highest October level ever and a new Mexican-built version of the brand’s least costly car finally readily available, seeing the Fit rise to new heights was not an unexpected occurrence.

It’s no E-Type on the outside, but the Fit’s purposeful design pays dividends inside for owners and even passengers. It is in some ways a mini-MPV with a very monobox shape. It’s not conventional, but its flexibility makes it strangely desirable as a result. Honda’s share of the subcompact category grew to 17.8% in October 2014, up from 10.8% a year ago and 10.6% in calendar year 2013 as a whole. It’s worth noting, as well, that the Fit is available only as a hatchback, while the four other members of the subcompact category’s October top five are sold as hatchbacks and sedans.

It’s also worth noting that the category continues to be controlled in large part by the cheap-and-roomy Nissan Versa, sales of which improved 29% in October 2014 to 11,097 units, 28.8% of the segment’s total.

With a higher price tag and fewer build options, it’s hard to see the Fit unseating the Versa any time soon, even on a semi-long-term basis.

Added competition may pose the greater danger to the Fit over the next few years, however. And we don’t mean competition from more subcompact hatchbacks. While Nissan Canada has seen Versa sales tumble 43% over the last three months as the Micra slotted in below and stole sales (and added many more), Honda will challenge their own Fit and Civic with the new HR-V, set to be displayed in detail at the Los Angeles auto show this week.

It’s a long-running theme. America’s new vehicle market is expanding at a 5.5% clip in 2014, and while subcompact sales shot up 11.5% in the month of October, specifically, subcompact volume is up just 3.4% this year. That outpaces the overall passenger car market, which is up just 1.2%. But combined sales of the Buick Encore, Mini Countryman and Paceman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke, and Subaru XV Crosstrek are up 28.2% to a combined 181,370 units. Sure, as a group they’re not as popular as subcompact cars – they’re certainly more costly, too. Yet their growth does represent a real turning of the tide.

Nissan Versa NoteBack in the here and now, Detroit subcompacts, in the form of the Chevrolet Sonic and Ford Fiesta, have earned 31% market share in 2014. Sales of the Hyundai Accent rose 34% to 4839 in October and are up 5% this year; Kia Rio volume was down 12% both in October and through the first ten months. Combined Prius C/Yaris sales are down 19% in Toyota showrooms in 2014. Mazda 2 sales have increased 34% in advance of the next 2’s arrival, but October volume plunged 38% to just 457 units.

Meanwhile, America’s four top-selling compacts – Corolla, Civic, Cruze, Focus – combine to outsell the whole subcompact category by more than two-to-one.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Nissan Quest U.S. Sales Reach 45-Month Low In October 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-quest-u-s-sales-reach-45-month-low-october-2014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:03:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946689 October 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011. Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan […]

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Nissan Quest sales chartOctober 2014 was the lowest-volume U.S. sales month for the latest, fourth-generation Nissan Quest since the van debuted nearly four years ago in January 2011.

Minivan sales in America slid 2% in October 2014 but have risen 5% this year. Quest volume plunged 54% in October. Quest sales are down 23% this year. No minivan sold less often than the Quest in October, not even the cancelled Mazda 5.

Year-to-date, the Quest leads the Kia Sedona by a slim margin of 633 units, but that figure will swiftly flip: the Sedona outsold the Quest by 2006 units in October thanks to the arrival of an all-new third-gen model.

Historically, Nissan has sold Quests in much greater numbers, but it’s never been a pillar of the minivan movement. When 46,430 Quests were sold in calendar year 2004, that represented just 4.2% of total minivan sales. (It’s unlikely Nissan will even sell 10,000 in 2014.) The Quest’s market share during the first ten months of 2014: 1.8%.

It’s too early to say Nissan USA has given up on the Quest. There is a MY2015 variant. Indeed, that 2015 model accounts for 38% of the current stock listed on Cars.com. But this isn’t a product you’ll find in large numbers in Nissan showrooms across America.

North of the border, in the much stronger minivan market that is Canada, the Quest was first moved to special order status and has since been removed from the company’s consumer website. It’s not even mentioned in the company’s 2015 product plans.

2014 Nissan Quest grey rearThe numbers? In the U.S. in October 2014, only 370 Quests were sold, down from 812 in October 2013 and 395 in September of this year. Nissan has reached four digits with the Quest only three times this year after averaging 1073 monthly Quest sales in 2013, 1523/month in 2012, and 1131/month in the latter 83% of 2011.

The vast majority of automakers would truly struggle to break into this category. The fact that Nissan’s been a long-time player seems to make little difference, perhaps because of the avant-garde styling of the last two iterations. Even during a month in which sales of the fifth-ranked van (Sedona) jumped 251% to 2376 units, the top four owned a staggering 92% of the segment, with Chrysler and Dodge grabbing slightly more than half of all minivan sales.

The fourth-gen Quest has flopped, and now it’s being kicked while it’s flat on the mat. Is it the looks; the difficult task of balancing low demand with the need to increase supply if greater volume is to be generated; the simple fact that it’s not a Grand Caravan, Town & Country, Sienna, or Odyssey; or something else altogether?

It’s not as though the overall Nissan brand is struggling to conquer greater swathes of the U.S. market. Few brands with mainstream appeal are growing faster.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Nissan Defies Trends, Keeps Selling More Cars In America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-defies-trends-keeps-selling-cars-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nissan-defies-trends-keeps-selling-cars-america/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:09:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944801 In the steadily growing U.S. new vehicle market, car sales have increased just 1% through the first ten months of 2014. Nissan, however, says their car sales have grown 15.5% in 2014, surging forward by more than 90,000 units to 669,538. In calendar year 2013, total new vehicle sales were up nearly 8%, but car […]

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Nissan Sentra - 4. Picture courtesy NissanIn the steadily growing U.S. new vehicle market, car sales have increased just 1% through the first ten months of 2014.

Nissan, however, says their car sales have grown 15.5% in 2014, surging forward by more than 90,000 units to 669,538.

In calendar year 2013, total new vehicle sales were up nearly 8%, but car sales grew just 4% during a year in which, for example, pickup trucks were up 12%.

2014 hasn’t been so kind to cars, with the Chrysler Group’s passenger cars collectively falling 15%, Ford Motor Company car sales sliding 4%, GM cars up less than 2%, American Honda car sales up less than 1%, Hyundai car sales down 3%, total Toyota/Lexus/Scion cars up just 1%, and the Volkswagen brand’s cars down 12%.

According to Automotive News, in an industry that’s expanded by 720,125 units, total new passenger car sales are up by fewer than 77,000 units. Cars accounted for 50.6% of all new vehicle sales in the first ten months of 2013; just 48.5% in 2014.

That approximate 49% mark isn’t an unusual one for the auto industry in the United States. Americans are expected to register more than 16 million new vehicles in 2014, the first such 16K+ year since 2007, a year in which 48.8% of the new vehicles sold were passenger cars, down from 49.1%.

But Nissan is a much different seller of cars now than they were in 2007, when they sold 542,258 cars in the full calendar year, a figure which they eclipsed in the first eight months of 2014. (Nissan’s car division in 2007 was made up of a Z, Altima, Maxima, Sentra, and Versa. In addition to those five cars, Nissan now also lists the Cube, GT-R, Juke, and Leaf among their cars.)

Setting aside the historical significance, though, just look at Nissan’s current car performance, excluding the Juke for relatively obvious reasons. The brand’s car sales are thus up 16% to 635,517 units. 44% of that volume comes from the Altima, America’s fourth-best-selling car overall and third-best-selling midsize car. The Altima competes in a stagnant segment, but sales of this intermediate Nissan are up 3.4% in 2014. The brand’s two core small car nameplates, Versa (which includes the Note in Nissan’s release) and Sentra, combine to sell about as often as the Altima, generating another 43% of the brand’s car volume.

The Versa, up 21% in 2014, is America’s leading subcompact. Sentra sales are up 44% in a competitive set that’s risen around 3% this year. The Leaf is Nissan’s fourth-best-selling car. Sales are up 35% to 24,411 units, making the Leaf America’s 66th-best-selling car in 2014, just behind the Hyundai Veloster; just ahead of the Ford C-Max. This leaves less than 2% of the brand’s car volume for the 370Z (up 13%), Cube (down 28%), and GT-R (up 9%), and another 7% for the Maxima.

Sales of the Maxima are up 9% in this run-out-the-clock year, a real rarity in a declining category of big, volume-brand cars. The Maxima sells slightly more often than the Buick LaCrosse; slightly less often than the Chrysler 300.

These car nameplates have generated 59% of the Nissan brand’s year-to-date sales, up from 58% last year. Fortunately for Nissan, the Frontier, Juke, Murano, NV, NV200, and especially the Rogue have produced significant improvements, as well. Those vehicles, along with the declining Armada, Pathfinder, Quest, Titan, and Xterra, are up 11% to 436,947 units this year. Total Infiniti sales are up 4% to 93,925, 8% of the overall company’s volume.

And where does the Nissan brand rank in the grand scheme of automakers competing for passenger car sales in America this year? Automotive News says the Toyota brand leads the way, followed by Chevrolet, Honda, and then Nissan, which is nearly 17,000 sales ahead of FoMoCo’s Ford division. Of course, Ford has managed to sell 620,447 F-Series pickups this year, a massive figure which once again puts the car market into perspective.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Next-Gen Nissan Titan Equipped With New Turbodiesel Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-nissan-titan-equipped-new-turbodiesel-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/next-gen-nissan-titan-equipped-new-turbodiesel-tech/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938169 When the next-gen Nissan Titan rolls up to the stage at next year’s Detroit Auto Show, the full-size truck will have a big oil-burner with enough sequential firepower to put all on Truck Mountain on notice. Car & Driver reports the 5-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 — expected to pump out 300 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. […]

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Nissan Titan Cummins Holset M2 Two-Stage System with Rotary Turbine Control

When the next-gen Nissan Titan rolls up to the stage at next year’s Detroit Auto Show, the full-size truck will have a big oil-burner with enough sequential firepower to put all on Truck Mountain on notice.

Car & Driver reports the 5-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 — expected to pump out 300 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque — will come equipped with a sequential turbocharging system called the Holset M2 Two-Stage System with Rotary Turbine Control; Holset was an engineering firm in England that was purchased by Cummins in the 1970s, then renamed Cummins Turbo Technologies in 2006.

The system uses an electronically controlled rotary valve to direct exhaust flow to either one of the two turbos feeding power to the engine, shifting focus from the smaller to the larger of the turbos as airflow increases with engine speed and load.

As well as regulating boost pressure, the Rotary Turbine Control can be used as an exhaust brake when the accelerator is lifted. In turn, the increased temperatures resulting from the act help burn off more soot in the engine’s particulate filter.

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Nissan, Honda Recall More Takata-Equipped Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935674 The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list. Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube […]

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2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior

The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list.

Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube and Micra/March, with the majority of the models located in the automaker’s home market of Japan.

Meanwhile, Honda is replacing the defective units in 3.5 million vehicles in 11 states in the U.S. where high humidity could lead to an airbag exploding with metal shrapnel taking dead aim at all inside. The company also recalled 425,825 units, adding onto the 6 million that have been recalled over the issue since 2008.

Finally, General Motors and Toyota are issuing warnings to their customers not have anyone sit in the front passenger seat until the airbag unit is replaced.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Datsun 280C aka Nissan Cedric http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1982-datsun-280c-aka-nissan-cedric/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/junkyard-find-1982-datsun-280c-aka-nissan-cedric/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935210 During my trip to Sweden a few months ago, I watched a Volvo 244 triumph at a Folkrace, saw some great restored Detroit iron, and— of course— went to the junkyard. In fact, I went to one of the best junkyards I’ve ever seen: Bloms Bilskrot, located near the northern town of Söråker. We’ve taken […]

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01 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDuring my trip to Sweden a few months ago, I watched a Volvo 244 triumph at a Folkrace, saw some great restored Detroit iron, and— of course— went to the junkyard. In fact, I went to one of the best junkyards I’ve ever seen: Bloms Bilskrot, located near the northern town of Söråker. We’ve taken a detailed look at this 1966 Toyota Crown wagon, this 1963 Ford Taunus 17M, this California-customized 1969 Ford Econoline van, this 1964 Simca 1000, and now it’s the turn of a not-sold-in-North-America fifth-generation Nissan Cedric.
04 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty mossy, but still has some useful parts.
03 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 280C version came with the same L28 as the 280ZX, but it could also be had with a diesel version known as the LD28.
05 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince there’s a glow-plug indicator light on the dash, this car should be an oil-burner.
06 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe European version appears to have been given English-language dash controls.

 


The next generation of this car came with a V6 and the endorsement of Jack Nicklaus. Wait, wasn’t he supposed to stay loyal to the Isuzu Statesman Deville?

01 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1982 Nissan Cedric Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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NYC Taxi Association Take Taxi Of Tomorrow Fight To Albany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935650 Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200. Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant […]

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Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200.

Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant to bring 15,000 of the new taxis to the streets of Manhattan over the next 10 years — was flawed from the start:

The Taxi of Tomorrow as planned forces owners to purchase a single foreign-made vehicle, which is neither fuel-efficient nor wheelchair accessible.

The lawsuit process began in 2012, after the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission chose the NV200 as its new champion, and mandated all medallion owners to buy the vans to replace their Ford Crown Victorias at $29,700 a pop. The plan was blocked twice prior to the June 2014 ruling in favor, once for the lack of hybrid models, and again for overreach by the commission.

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Nissan, Tesla Sold Most California ZEV Credits In 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-tesla-sold-california-zev-credits-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-tesla-sold-california-zev-credits-2013/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935346 In one corner of the California ZEV credit octagon, the Tesla and its air of luxury. On the other side, the Nissan and its down-to-earth vibe. Who won this year? Nissan. AutoblogGreen reports the Japanese automaker sold more ZEV credits than the Californians, though not by much: 663.6 to 650.195. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pulled up […]

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In one corner of the California ZEV credit octagon, the Tesla and its air of luxury. On the other side, the Nissan and its down-to-earth vibe.

Who won this year? Nissan.

AutoblogGreen reports the Japanese automaker sold more ZEV credits than the Californians, though not by much: 663.6 to 650.195. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pulled up at a distant third with 235.2 sold, thanks to the existence of the Fiat 500e.

As for who bought them — purchase price per credit is permanently shrouded in secrecy — Mercedes likely took Nissan’s credits for the former’s less green offerings, Honda following behind with 542.5 purchased. FCA, again, placed third with 237.8, cancelling out what the 500e gained.

Finally, California residents brought home 3.5 million vehicles during the period ending last month, with 38,000 EVs, 30,000 PHEVs and 570,000 hybrids roaming the streets and highways.

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NHTSA Issues Urgent Recall For Takata-Equipped Vehicles In Humid Climes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nhtsa-issues-urgent-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles-humid-climes/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934178 If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed. Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

If you happen to own certain BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Nissan vehicles, and reside in a humid climate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging you to take it in for repairs linked to the Takata airbags installed.

Though the agency didn’t explain exactly the need for urgency, the airbags made by Takata have been linked to humidity-related failures, where upon detonation, metal shrapnel would be sprayed into the cabin, injuring or killing all within.

Owners of the following affected vehicles may need to bring their vehicles in for repairs if they call Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands or Hawaii home:

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Recall letters are being sent out to affected owners, who can also look up their VIN through SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is under recall.

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Nissan Canada Launches One-Make Micra Cup Race Series http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-canada-launches-one-make-micra-cup-race-series/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-canada-launches-one-make-micra-cup-race-series/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:36:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931514 The Nissan Micra has already staked itself out as the most affordable new car on sale in Canada, with a base price of just $9,998 CDN. And at $19,998, it’s also the cheapest race car in the country. Nissan and Quebec performance outfit JD Motorsports are launching the one-make Micra Cup, intended as a stepping […]

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The Nissan Micra has already staked itself out as the most affordable new car on sale in Canada, with a base price of just $9,998 CDN. And at $19,998, it’s also the cheapest race car in the country.

Nissan and Quebec performance outfit JD Motorsports are launching the one-make Micra Cup, intended as a stepping stone series to bridge the gap between karting and more costly forms of motorsports.

The Micra race cars will be based on the lowest trim level Micra S, and be sold as a turnkey package prepared for racing. Modifications include a NISMO suspension kit, better brake pads, alloy wheels and performance tires, a new exhaust and the requisite safety gear.

While the Micra Cup will be limited to Quebec initially, it may expand to other provinces in Canada (Quebec is currently the top market for the Micra). What we wouldn’t give to see it expanded to include our fantasy “Spec Mirage” class as well.

image005 image006 image007 image004

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Paris 2014: Nissan Pulsar NISMO Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-nissan-pulsar-nismo-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-nissan-pulsar-nismo-debuts/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 21:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=925057 The Nissan Pulsar NISMO made its debut at the 2014 Paris Auto Show Thursday, but it’ll never turn up in North American showrooms. The mad scientists of Nissan’s performance division gave the Pulsar a full makeover with double-layered side skirts, redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes, a rear diffuser, center exhaust et al, all […]

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Nissan-Pulsar-NISMO-Concept-2

The Nissan Pulsar NISMO made its debut at the 2014 Paris Auto Show Thursday, but it’ll never turn up in North American showrooms.

The mad scientists of Nissan’s performance division gave the Pulsar a full makeover with double-layered side skirts, redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes, a rear diffuser, center exhaust et al, all riding on 19-inch wheels with a lowered suspension aimed at the track.

Speaking of the track, though no word on what would power the hot hatch has been stated by either party, a likely candidate would be a 1.6-liter turbo-four delivering 200 horsepower. There’s also no word on whether the concept will go into production.

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921241 Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012. Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units […]

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2014-nissan-rogue-14

Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units per year will head for the container port to the NAFTA market over the next five years. The figure will contribute to a total of 500,000+ units annually, spread out over nine plants around the world.

The export plan isn’t only a win for RSM –securing a stable production volume of 30 percent of what can be built in Busan — but for consumers on the West Coast who would like to have a Rogue in their parking space, but must wait due to a volume shortage.

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Infiniti G37 Keeps Hanging On With Real Sales Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-g37-keeps-hanging-real-sales-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-g37-keeps-hanging-real-sales-numbers/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913434 Infiniti’s G37 sedan continues to attract a meaningful amount of attention from entry-level luxury car buyers in the United States, long after it was replaced by the Q50. It’s still a fast car. It may be the better driver’s car. And it’s the cheaper of the two, as well, with a base price (including destination and […]

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2015 Infiniti Q40Infiniti’s G37 sedan continues to attract a meaningful amount of attention from entry-level luxury car buyers in the United States, long after it was replaced by the Q50.

It’s still a fast car. It may be the better driver’s car. And it’s the cheaper of the two, as well, with a base price (including destination and handling) of $33,855, $4200 below the price of the least costly Q50.

11,327 G sedans have been sold in the United States over the last eight months, almost precisely one G37 per two Q50s.

Infiniti has no plans, at least not for the very near future, to cancel the G37. They’re actually going so far as to give it a new name to fit in with Johan De Nysschen’s Q badging strategy. The G37 will become the Q40. De Nysschen now works for Cadillac, which now builds the Qescalade. No, really, they’ll actually build the CT6.

With the newer Q50 in showrooms, sales of the enduring predecessor have naturally fallen sharply in 2014. The 53% drop equals 12,939 fewer sales for the G. But total G Sedan/Q50 sales are up 29% to 34,449 units.

Even with the Q60 included, Infiniti’s 39,753 year-to-date non-Q70 car sales don’t measure up to Mercedes-Benz’s declining C-Class (43,885 units) or BMW’s 3-Series/4-Series tandem (81,631 units).

Yet in the second tier, where Lexus IS sales are up 77% to 33,427 units and total Audi A4 sales are down 4% to 26,310 and Cadillac ATS volume is down 20% to 20,296, Infiniti is at the top. More likely than not, the Q50 wouldn’t have the gusto to gain that position without the lingering G37, as we can’t assume all 11,327 G buyers would have spent the extra coin required to make the leap.

It would have been silly of us to discount the strength of the G too soon. In first-gen form, Infiniti’s smaller sports sedan – a long-awaited successor to the G20 we’re ignoring here – reignited the brand. Total Infiniti volume shot up to 136,401 units in 2005, a feat Infiniti hasn’t accomplished since, when the G family accounted for 50.4% of all Infiniti sales. With the G still assisting in 2014, Infiniti is on track to top 120,000 U.S. sales for the first time since 2007. (August results threw a wrench into that plan, as total Infiniti sales slid 23%.)

So far this year, despite being replaced, the G sedan is the brand’s third-best-selling model, more than 3000 sales ahead of the next-best-selling QX80, ahead of the Q60, QX70, Q70, and QX50, as well. G37 sales in August climbed above 1500 units for the fourth time in six months, and the G37 managed to outsell the Subaru WRX/STi, Scion FR-S, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Mitsubishi Lancer, Mazda 2, Honda Crosstour, BMW i3, Porsche 911, Scion xD, Volkswagen CC, and Lexus LS, among many others.

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Editorial: The Case For Importing The Dacia Duster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-case-importing-dacia-duster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/editorial-case-importing-dacia-duster/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=918018 Tim Cain’s article on how the Micra now accounts for 1 in 10 Nissans sold in Canada led me down the armchair product planner rabbit hole, though my conclusion was not the “Nismo Cube Diesel in Brown” that one might expect of an auto blogger. I think that there’s a strong case to be made […]

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Tim Cain’s article on how the Micra now accounts for 1 in 10 Nissans sold in Canada led me down the armchair product planner rabbit hole, though my conclusion was not the “Nismo Cube Diesel in Brown” that one might expect of an auto blogger. I think that there’s a strong case to be made for the Dacia Duster to be imported to Canada as an ultra-cheap Nissan crossover.

First of all, let’s take a look at the Canadian market. Behind compact cars, compact SUVs are the second biggest market segment in Canada. Unlike America, smaller cars are the hottest ticket in the Great White North, thanks to higher fuel prices, less disposable income and a propensity for many people to live in dense urban centres. Couple that with poorer weather and the fact that SUVs are very much in vogue, and you have the right conditions for a car market that is very receptive to the compact SUV, even if they cost a bit more than a compact or mid-size car.

Within that segment is a growing number of subcompact-sized SUVs. The Nissan Juke was arguably the pioneer of the segment in much of the world, but the Buick Encore, Jeep Compass and Chevrolet Trax will soon be joined by the Honda HR-V and other nameplates. It’s reasonable to expect that this segment will flourish even further, given that it offers many of the same qualitative advantages of a compact SUV, at an even lower price.

For Nissan, the Dacia Duster, already sold in world markets as the Nissan Terrano, is the sort of vehicle that could be offered as a low-cost companion to the Nissan Micra. Like the Micra, it would be pitched as a vehicle for basic transportation needs, albeit with the added space and practicality of an SUV bodystyle, and even AWD (on upper trim levels). At a low enough price point (less than the Juke’s $19,998 base price, but higher than the Micra’s $9,998 teaser price), a Terrano could be offered an attractive enough MSRP to draw buyers into the showroom, enticed by the idea of a dirt cheap, rugged SUV from a known brand like Nissan. There could be an utterly basic Duster with a manual gearbox, no A/C and lacking other creature comforts that would be offered as a loss-leader/Quebec market special, while higher content versions could be offered at higher prices.

Homologation for both safety and emissions standards would be necessary, but if Nissan can find a way around it for the Micra, it can be done for the Duster/Terrano. Production from Dacia’s Romanian plant would be covered under the soon to be signed Canada-EU free trade deal.

In a market that is extraordinarily price sensitive (Maritz data suggests that price and value for money are leading considerations for Canadian buyers), with high fuel prices, poor roads and even poorer weather, a low-cost small SUV seems like a slam dunk. Nissan took a real gamble on the Micra, but it seems to be paying off handsomely. A low-priced, compact SUV is likely to entail less risk and a far greater reward.

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10% Of The Nissans Sold In Canada Are Micras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/10-nissans-sold-canada-micras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/10-nissans-sold-canada-micras/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:02:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917394 Nissan Canada markets their new entry-level car with a $9998 base price. (It’s $11,398 with destination, $14,698 with a 4-speed auto and air conditioning.) The Micra is a sub-Versa car in a small car lineup that includes the Sentra and Juke, but no longer the Cube. It is the cheapest car in Canada. Its most […]

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2015 Nissan MicraNissan Canada markets their new entry-level car with a $9998 base price. (It’s $11,398 with destination, $14,698 with a 4-speed auto and air conditioning.)

The Micra is a sub-Versa car in a small car lineup that includes the Sentra and Juke, but no longer the Cube. It is the cheapest car in Canada. Its most obvious direct rival, aside from the Versa, would be the Mitsubishi Mirage. Our managing editor, a certain Mr. Kreindler, says the chassis is “promising” and “shockingly adept.”

You might also be shocked to see the level of popularity achieved by the Micra so early on in its Canadian tenure.

Micra volume rose steadily from 201 units in April, when at the end of the month Nissan sent a couple hundred Micras to Quebec, to 1250 in July, when the Micra ended the month as Canada’s 18th-best-selling passenger car, just ahead of the surging Kia Soul.

1250 sales is close to the monthly average achieved by Canada’s fourth-best-selling midsize car in 2013, the Hyundai Sonata. In other words, these aren’t small potatoes.

Ignore best seller lists for a moment, however, and consider the impact on the Nissan brand itself, Canada’s second-fastest-growing volume automaker, behind only Jeep. Sales at the Nissan brand have risen 32% in 2014, or 24% if the Micra’s figures are excluded.

Over the last three months – June, July, and August – the Micra has accounted for one out of every ten Nissan vehicles sold in Canada: 8.8% in June, 11.7% in July, and 8.8% again in August.

11% of the Nissans sold during that three-month span were Altimas; 8% were Pathfinders. The Rogue is Nissan Canada’s top-selling model, with 8020 (26%) of the Nissan brand’s summer volume.

The Micra may also be shining a usefully bright light on other small Nissans. Sentra sales, down 10% this year through the first five months of 2014, have increased 5% over the last three months. Versa volume continued to rise dramatically through July despite the Micra’s appearance in showrooms, although August sales tanked in comparison with 2013’s highest month.

There was a moment in which it appeared the Micra was out to kill off the Mitsubishi Mirage, as Mirage volume slid 50% from a record high 577 units in April to just 286 in May. But the Mirage has since stabilized, recording three consecutive months above 400 units after averaging fewer than 300 monthly sales in the preceding eight months.

Beyond outselling the far more third-worldly Mirage, assisting in Nissan’s rapid growth, and attracting attention to the fresh Nissan small car lineup, the Micra is another sign that the Canadian market matters. At least as a test bed.

The B-Class is responsible for 15% of Mercedes-Benz Canada’s passenger car volume this year. Chevrolet Orlando volume has fallen off precipitously, likely answering a question few had asked in regards to the U.S. market, but the Trax, soon to be an American model as well, sells 48% more often than the Buick Encore.

Nissan has been far more flagrant in its massaging of Canadians’ inferiority complex. Drape a car in enough red and white and eventually that inferiority complex flips upside down: “We get what you can’t have, ‘Murica.”

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Infiniti Debuts Its Version Of The Human Centipede http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-debuts-version-human-centipede/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/infiniti-debuts-version-human-centipede/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:46:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917410 While other outlets heap praise on the Infiniti Q80 and its innovative “1+1+1+1″ seating (where all four passengers sit single file behind one another), I instantly recalled the cinematic masterpiece “The Human Centipede” that featured a similar arrangement for a few unfortunate individuals. Go ahead. I’ll wait. All jokes aside, the Q80 is supposed to […]

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Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

While other outlets heap praise on the Infiniti Q80 and its innovative “1+1+1+1″ seating (where all four passengers sit single file behind one another), I instantly recalled the cinematic masterpiece “The Human Centipede” that featured a similar arrangement for a few unfortunate individuals. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

All jokes aside, the Q80 is supposed to preview a future flagship for the brand, one that was mapped out prior to the departure of Johan De Nysschen. The Q80 will debut at next week’s Paris Auto Show.

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