Gasoline is gloriously cheap and the automotive industry is taking a break from the tiresome “more mpg” game.
That, Christmas comes early for Volkswagen employees, Carlos Ghosn has a plan to save big bucks, Google is luring more humans and Bentley can’t build enough SUVs for the “you call this caviar?!” crowd … after the break!
The promise of improved performance and tree-hugging fuel economy has made turbocharged engines all the rage in luxury cars. Despite the often failure of those boosted motors to meet their lofty, published fuel economy ratings in the real world, forced induction has a significant — and positive — impact on performance.
It seems Infiniti had gotten the memo.
February ends. March begins. What better way to celebrate the sunny-but-cool weather of early spring than by looking at military castoffs? Luckily, the Lemon Lot full of them, and some were quite appropriately named.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one of Nissan’s cutest products: the March. (Read More…)
Like cockroaches scattering in the light, Americans are fleeing sedans for the upright comfort and wagon-like space of crossovers.
The full-size sedan segment has recently been hit hard, Maxima included. Since 2012, the auto market has expanded 20 percent, while full-size sedan sales have contracted 14 percent. Based on an aging design and the entrance of Korean rivals, the Maxima’s 12-percent market share in 2012 dwindled to eight percent in 2015.
There is a fair chance no more than six people will read this review, and five of those readers will be future doctoral students deconstructing the final days of the sedan. Does that mean no matter how good the Maxima is — or could be — it’s doomed to fail?
FCA’s sweater-in-chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn around the debt-laden and ailing automaker: stop building cars that lose money. That sounds like common sense, so long as oil prices stay low and the demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remains high.
But that plan introduces a new set of problems, chief among them the fact that ditching the car market leaves FCA exceptionally exposed to future volatility in oil prices. Crude prices affect prices at the pump, which affects the demand for certain types of vehicles. Sergio is betting oil prices will stay low by focusing on vehicles with ever-increasing price tags and ever-growing gas tanks.
Still, there will always be some demand for small cars. It was true in 1950 and it is true today. So what will Mr. Sweater do to meet that demand? Simple: he’ll buy those vehicles from another automaker and badge engineer them the old-fashioned way.
Traditional car shoppers are moving away from small sedans and toward compact crossovers. That’s the conventional wisdom used to explain the slowing sales we see in some models. But could there be another reason? Could it simply be a lack of focus and attention to the compact segment?
There is one model that’s seen a meteoric rise in sales since 2013: the Sentra. Nissan’s complete overhaul three years ago and aggressive pricing doubled Sentra sales since then, moving it from a “top 15″ player in sales to number five in 2015.
In an effort to maintain the trajectory, Nissan opted for a major refresh after just three years on sale. (Sounds like the Honda plan with the Civic, doesn’t it?) Perhaps the key to compact success is a combination of frequent updates and more gadgets for shoppers to choose from. That sums up the 2016 Sentra perfectly.
Nissan announced Friday that it would recall about 870,000 Altimas for faulty hood latches, the third time the automaker has recalled the cars since 2014, according to Reuters.
The affected models are 2013-2015 Altimas, whose secondary hood latches could rust and be ineffective at keeping 20-some square feet of sheet metal from blocking your view of the road.
The automaker attempted to fix the issue in February 2015 and September 2014, but like any good owner of a General Motors 3800 engine will tell you, anything worth doing is worth doing over and over and over again. (Read More…)
The badging on US-market Datsuns and Nissans got very confusing thanks to the Datsun-to-Nissan changeover that stretched from 1981 through 1984. It resulted in vehicles with awkward names such as “Datsun 810 Maxima By Nissan” showing up in showrooms with all the Datsun logos about to be chiseled off the walls. There was an ever-shifting cast of Bluebirds and Cherrys and Violets and Sunnys sold with American-market designations ending in “-1o” that sometimes corresponded with their corporate identifiers and sometimes didn’t. And then there was the Stanza-based 510 that wasn’t related to its beloved Bluebird-based 1968-73 namesake.
Here is such a car, spotted in a Denver self-serve yard a few weeks ago. (Read More…)
Back with a topic that might be real to many Texans and others of warmer climes. I’m close to 220,000 miles on my 94 Nissan D21. She’s still motoring along and I’m doing my to keep her maintained.
We’ve just come through the dog days. Back when it was hitting 112° in Dallas, I was finding myself stuck in afternoon rush hour traffic on 75 and the coolant temp was pushing upwards into a zone that definitely had my attention. Fortunately, the traffic cleared and I could get back up to speeds that moved sufficient air across the radiator. (Read More…)
Chevrolet might be trying to sell its newest Spark in the United States for $12,660 ($13,535 with freight), but the automaker is bringing its game to other low-priced subcompacts in Canada with a starting price of $9,995 CAD ($11,595 CAD with freight/PDI).
That means the Spark costs $6,880 USD on the Canadian side of the border after adjusting for current exchange rates. Either GM Canada is taking a massive financial hit on the Spark, or Americans are getting hosed — by $5,780 USD, to be exact — for the Korean-made hatchback.